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.
(169) Shannon Wold
Tue, 7 July 2009 22:46:25 +0000

I have just finished reading the book--loved it!! Cried a LOT. I live in AZ, but spent my childhood summers in Milford, IA on my grandmother's farm. I also graduated from high school in '80, so could relate to virtually everything "The Girls" talked about. Spent many lazy days at Lake Okoboji. I am still in touch with a childhood friend from those days who lives in Spirit Lake. I also have some close friendships with girls from my childhood and treasure them immensely.

(168) Margaret Johnson
Tue, 7 July 2009 15:34:07 +0000

I heard about the book from my own group of "Girls From Ames" -- sorority sisters in the early 1970's at ISU. We got together for the first time at the sorority last summer (2008), after being apart for 33 years. The laughter that weekend was explosive.

I grew up in Iowa and moved to Colorado. In the early 1980's, I joined a Book Club of 10 -- all with young children and needing an excuse to get together once a month. Sometimes, we even read the selected book. We soon evolved into close friends. Monthly meetings expanded to include twice yearly "bookclub weekends" where rafting, skiing, boating and "other adventures" brought us even closer. We've shared marriages, childbirth, divorces, unusual diets and exercise routines, illnesses, grandchildren, hip-replacements through the years. Now some of us (like me) have scattered throughout the country. Our monthly meetings have ended. But through the magic of emails and social networking sites, we still "see" each other and share our lives. We'll always be close friends -- the Woodland Hills Bookclub.

(167) Donna
Tue, 7 July 2009 00:46:09 +0000

I found this book very powerful. My high school girlfriends (6 of us) mean the world to me and that is why I thought I would really appreciate this book. We just celebrated our 40th birthday in the Dominican Republic for 4 days and have been friends most of our lives. We are very fortunate to live close enough so we can get together monthly. I do plan on growing old with these women because they are my life lines in many ways. Thanks for sharing!

(166) Bonnie Riggle
Mon, 6 July 2009 02:20:30 +0000

Five years ago 5 girls I had grown up with got together after not seeing some for 30 years. Some had moved away, but we all had Seneca Lake in common as we spent most summers there. We have reconnected and picked up where we left off. We now get together during the summer at Seneca Lake, usually have a 'Theme' such as the Prom last year. Our moms even got in the act. It was great! Last summer one mom had cancer and has since passed. One friend lost a son in a car accident, and 3 of the 6 have divorced and remarried.One is a famous quilt maker and fabric designer. We all say we had an enchanted childhood.

(165) Missy Gowey
Mon, 6 July 2009 00:46:31 +0000

A close friend couldn't wait to provide me with a copy of The Girls from Ames. She knew I'd love reading this beautiful story because I speak so fondly of the years I spent in Ames attending Iowa State University.

While my "sisters" and I came to Ames in 1980 from several Iowa towns, the bonds we formed while there are as strong as those described in the book. (Must be something in the Ames water.) We have remained close and have shared the joys and sorrows of adulthood in ways similar to those of the Girls from Ames.

I remember meeting up in Ames for a reunion of our own and surprising everyone with my pregnancy. They understood my relunctance to spread the news too early, after suffering several miscarriages before bring three healthy children into the world. My kids know they're loved deeply by Mom's ISU friends.

Greg and I met at Iowa State and married in 1985. Our oldest son now attends Iowa State. We talk often about the life-bonds he'll make with his college friends. Although, I am convinced they will never be as deep and celebrated as those I found with my girls from Ames.

(164) Beverly
Sun, 5 July 2009 21:24:57 +0000

Deeply moved by this book, I have always valued my women friends, unfortunately not always been able to keep up as the girls from Ames have. Thank you to the girls sharing their stories, thoughts and honesty. I felt like I got to be part of their sisterhood as I read their stories. This book has reminded me to put my life in order of importance, all the daily annoyances of work, family, life are just part of life and the important, valuable experiences involve those you love friends and family. Thank you for such a wonderful story, it has touched my life forever

(163) Marcy Fields
Sun, 5 July 2009 05:13:29 +0000

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book. I am one of 6 friends that goes back to junior high (two from elementary). In high school we were called the Green Pinto Gang as we would all cram into the Green Pinto our one friend who had a car drove (you could do that back then - and there were actually 7 of us at that time - one member defected). To this day, our husbands, families and friends still refer to us as the Green Pinto Gang 35 years later. Most of us still live in Southern California with one in Central California. We get together twice a year for a long weekend and nothing but nothing gets in the way of those weekends. The thing that resonated throughout the book for me is that there is no friend like an old friend. I have many other friends but none can compare to my GPG friends. I so enjoyed this book and related to so many things in it. Thanks for sharing your story.

(162) Sandy Dahlgren
Sun, 5 July 2009 04:04:36 +0000

Hello - I am enjoying The Girls from Ames. I have a group of friends that have been together over 35 years and we were all flight attendants (stewardesses was still appropriate in 1973). The strong core group is 8 of us and we have been through TWA flight attendant training to wild flights and wild places. We still meet every Christmas for dinner and sometimes at one of the girls winery in St. Helena, CA. Half of them have been my roomates somewhere along the way. We have had marraiges, deaths and divorces along with children and many fun dinners and always go down memory lane.
Sandy Dahlgren

(161) Kate
Fri, 3 July 2009 21:38:36 +0000

I have just finished the book and loved it. I am always happy to read and hear about groups of girls/women whose friendships are so binding and lasting- through thick and thin! I am also very fortunate to be a member of a group of women just like that-The Illinois Street Gang. Most of us have lived next door or near each other for anywhere from 25-30 years. We all met very young, before children and careers, etc. So the book and the experiences of the Ames girls really struck a chord. Thank You for writing it . And Ames girls THANKS for sharing your wonderful, wonderful lives with us. Good Luck to you in all of your futures.

(160) Ann Little Simon
Thu, 2 July 2009 20:01:40 +0000

I was preparing to come back to the midwest for my daughter's 6th birthday. I like Jenny had children much later in life. I saw this book in Borders and thought it would be a fun read for the trip home. Well, I got much more than I planned. I graduated from a small farming community in Indiana in 1979. There were three distinctive groups in our high school. The Girls from Ames could have been any one of those groups all with their own quirks, issues and problems. As I look back now, it is interesting to see how all of those groups navigated the trials of puberty. We had one incidence in the 8th grade like the "confrontation" they had. There must have been 15 of us in the guidance couselors office "goining" at it breaking each other down. To this day I have never forgotten that experience.

I have to say I cried hard throughout this book. My 3 year old and 6 year old couldn't figure out why mommy was crying. I guess it just hit home with me and I felt I was back in high school again....I have decided to stay another week and a half so I can attend my 30th high school reunion. I will look at this experience with a different attitude and appreciation for the various twists and turns that all of our live must have taken.

Thank you this.....I have to believe that my life will now take an interesting if not more reflective turn because of reading this book.

(159) Heidi Perkins
Thu, 2 July 2009 19:14:16 +0000

Your book caught my eye in the Dallas airport while waiting on my daughters flight to arrive. I grew up in Nebraska on a farm in the middle of corn feilds. So, when I saw Ames I thought Iowa and of course I knew the author from the last lecture.
I really miss the midwest. I'm drawn to anything that can reconnect me. This book was so wonderful to read. I felt like I was back in the cornfeild and all the emtions that go along with it.
I have always made friends a priority in my life and my husband is so supportive because he sees not only what it does for me but what it does for him, our marriage, our kids and our family. Nothing can replace true friendship.
I graduated from high school in '83 and my 2 older sisters graduated in '81 and '82 so the time line was fun to relive. The clothes, the hair, the music, the freedom of growing up in a safe place.
I think the thing that struck me the most was a comment on the video from Borders. One of the girls said "they live other places but they are FROM Ames." That is exactly how I feel about Nebraska and it is also how I answer when people ask me that same question. I live in Texas but I am from Nebraska.
I told my kids the other day that I felt like I knew you. I worry about Angela and Kelly and I think so often about Karla and Christie. My children are 15, 13, and 10.

My sister Tomi is so much like Kelly. I really pray that you both find the true love you deserve.

Thank you so much for sharing your lives with us and I wish all the very best. I look forward to updates and I've already passed the book along to a friend and I can't stop talking about it with all my friends, near and far. Thanks Heidi

(158) Alicia Schick
Wed, 1 July 2009 01:56:25 +0000

Dear Ones,
Just finished reading your ongoing story and want to thank you for being open with as much as you have. Your story of friendship will generate many conversations. I too have many women friends in various spheres of influence. I love women and am grateful for the wisdom, laughter and fun we have. At this season of my life I can even be thankful for the women who have caused great pain, sorrow and / or grief because the lessons for life are priceless.
Today is my seventieth birthday. A gift to me is writing a note of encouragement to you....keep sharing. Lead the way. Help other women learn to open their hearts. Your openness about "rifts" was huge. That's where friendships break down. Without a forgiving heart and a spirit of reconciliation, one can't truly experience the joy of being a woman.
I'm not proficient on the computer but hope I can access your web site and then mark it as a favorite. My motto is "Never underestimate a gray haired woman." I continue to learn and share my heart. Now you've given me more impetus.
Thank you.
Alicia Schick

(157) Jo Hoffman DeVolder
Mon, 29 June 2009 20:56:04 +0000

I, too, am an Ames girl, class of '50. I received my copy of the book from one of my Round Robin friends. (Our friendship started in second grade.) There are 10 in our close group. I tearfully just finished Chap. 2, "Marilyn". My sons were fortunate to have Dr. McCormack as their pediatrician. My first encounter with him was when I flew home from Fairbanks, Alaska with my 3 month old son. He cried all the time. I just knew there was something terribly wrong with him, and only the doctors in Ames would know what it was. Dr. McCormack checked him over thoroughly, smiled, told me I had a Cadillac with a one gallon fuel tank....feed him, feed him, feed him. Thank you, Marilyn, for letting us peek into your life......I'm anxious now to read about the rest of the girls from Ames.............Ames, a place I've always been proud to call home.

(156) Lynne Moeller
Mon, 29 June 2009 18:03:29 +0000

My story of a longtime friendship is unusual in that I only knew her for 2 years. I'm from a small beach town in California. In elementary school - in 4th grade - we got a new classmate, a girl named Linda, who ended up becoming my best friend. Her parents were divorced, her mother remarried and was expecting a baby. My mother was also expecting. Turns out we had so much more in common than pregnant mothers. We both had brothers named Gary. When our mothers had our baby brothers, they were both given "R" names. My name is Lynne, so we used to say, in a sing-song kind of way:

"Lynne and Linda, Gary and Gary, Ryan and Robbie, and Krista and Richard are the oddballs." Krista and Richard were our siblings that didn't have matching names, thus the oddball phrase. (This was 4th grade, remember :)

Her mother again got divorced and Linda ended up spending a lot of time at our house and with our family. We were inseparable from 4th through 6th grade. That's when she and her mother moved back to the Midwest. We were devastated.

We are now 45 years old. We kept in touch for years. At age 25, in 1989, I flew from California to Illinois, where Linda lived, to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. After the wedding I flew directly - with all of my belongings in duffle bags - to St. Louis, Missouri, to live. My mom and stepdad had moved there because he had recently been hired by the St. Louis Blues hockey team to be an assistant coach.

Linda recently wrote separate letters to my now divorced parents telling them how much it meant to her that they included her in our family when her own family was so torn apart. She wrote about how she purposefully invites her own kids' friends from divorced families to spend time at her house to see what a close family looks like because of what my family did for her. My mom and dad both cried.

When I asked Linda how she and her husband have stayed so happily married for the past 20 years, she said she always wanted what she didn't have as a child, a stable, normal family. She has that now, and so do her kids.

Linda and I are amazed at the songs and dances we still remember from those few short years we were together. We frequently email each other entire songs, word for word and say, "Do you remember..."

We have pictures with us in matching wrap skirts my mom made. We have pictures from my younger sister's birthday tea party where we were the "waitresses" and took the girls' orders. We have pictures of us in front of a Greyhound bus before a two-hour ride to my grandparents' house for vacation. We thought we were so grown up. We were in 6th grade.

Linda and her family came to St. Louis recently. We hadn't seen in other in years. Our meeting place was a mall. As soon as we laid eyes on each other we screamed and ran to each other and hugged. It was so neat to have our kids, who had never met each other, watch two old friends come together, like no time had ever passed.

We have a picture of us with our kids from that day that I cherish. The smiles on our faces are huge and genuine. Hopefully we won't let that much time pass before we see each other again.

(155) Arlene Beall
Sun, 28 June 2009 21:40:25 +0000

What a wonderful story of the special bond of women. I am blessed to be part of a group of very special women, the Doo Wha Diddies. Some of our Doo Wha's met in kindergarden and we were all high school friends graduating from South Bend Central in 1959. That's 50 years ago, which is so hard to believe. When our childen were small we kept in contact with letters and at reunions then took our first trip together in 1991 We have gone somewhere every year since. I sure wish we had started as early as the girls from Ames and wonder if some of the decisions we all made would have been different with the closeness and support of each other.
I wish all the Ames girls well and to those who are facing health issues, you are in my prayers. Thank you for allowing your story to be published and enjoy every moment with your special group of friends. Arlene

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