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.
(49) Jen
Fri, 1 May 2009 20:26:36 +0000

We're just turning 30 and we met at college where most of us were randomly assigned to the same dorm house. Like the book, there were 11 of us and we've lost one. Some of us were closer to some than others. Some moved out of the dorms before others and some moved in after. Almost all of my significant college memories involve them. We've spread out since college, but we've managed to stay in touch and most of us can get together every year or so. And I never realize how much I've missed them until I see them again.

I'm convinced that we will be like those groups that are still close and still having reunions 20 years from now when we are turning 50.

Through the 10 or 11 years I've known these people, I've never failed to realize how blessed I am to have met them. And through marriages and babies and even death, I've never failed to realize how much they are a part of me and (I hope) I am a part of them.

(48) marilyn whitaker
Fri, 1 May 2009 15:25:18 +0000

I just finished the book. I am also one of eleven girls in a wonderful friendship from college, over 25 years strong! We call ourselves the Ciao Bella's and are not scattered through Califonia, Oregon and Switzerland with many stops in between. Today, May 1, we are gathering in prayer for one of our Ciao Bella's who had her stomach removed at Stanford yesterday to prevent a cancerous gene from invading her body that has taken two of her siblings. I have come to stay at her home with her kids and two of the Ciao Bella's are keeping vigil at the hospital. We have shared so much over these many years and feel so blessed to have the strong group of friends. I am inspired to write our story, detailing our lives as sisters, because that is truly how we feel. We also gather every Super Bowl Weekend for our reunion. We have traveled to many wonderful places to share our three days of sisterhood. But today we are thankful for a successful surgery for our sister and looking forward to so many wonderful sister moments ahead.

(47) Liz Van Zomeren
Fri, 1 May 2009 04:44:20 +0000

I grew up in Iowa and attended ISU while these girls were in high school. They probably waited on me at Boyds. For the past 24 years, I lived in Edina, Minnesota. So, I can relate to the girls who moved to Minnesota. This past year, we moved back to Iowa for my husband's job. I am working in Ames at IDOT where some of these girls fathers worked. I have been grieving leaving my good friends in Minnesota and have felt that I'd never make good women friends again. It is much harder to make good friends in middle-age. This books is a wonderful read. It is such a rare and lovely gift to have friends for life who have known you and your family since childhood. Our world would be a better place if everyone had a solid group of friends like this to provide an anchor to the past and the courage to fly. Thanks for writing. Please write a follow-up on these ladies in 10 to 15 years.

(46) Valerie Tesdall McClimon
Thu, 30 April 2009 18:58:36 +0000

Reading your book brought back wonderful memories of growing up in Ames...I graduated in 1970 from Ames High School...I wish that I had kept in closer touch with many old friends and have always loved to see them at our class reunions...since most of us went all through school together, we were very close as a graduating captured the incredible spirit of friendship that girls have with each other and how it grows over the years...thank you!

(45) Wanda Fortin
Thu, 30 April 2009 12:30:10 +0000

I have been blessed with the 4 best friends in the world. It all started with Chris and I at age 4. Our back yards connected. From there we picked up Diana in third grade. She was a grade above us but was held back in 3rd grade. Today we say that was God's plan. Ann Marie we picked up in sixth grade and Lisa in Junior High. I have not read the book yet but when I saw it in my recent People Magazine I instantly knew what I was buying my 4 best friends for Mother's Day. We are all mothers and have been through so much together. We laugh constantly and sometimes cry. I went through a divorce and now Chris and Ann Marie are going through the same. I lost my father to cancer one year ago and I can't tell you how much it meant to me to have these girls in my life, especially at that time. Our husbands have become friends and all of our children have a blast together when we have picnics and campouts. We have an annual Christmas party together too. I can't wait to read the book and see how similar the girls from Ames probably are to my gals!!!!

(44) Kathy Stephenson
Wed, 29 April 2009 23:25:33 +0000

I too grew up in Ames and graduated from Ames High in 1971. I saw your book reviewed in People Magazine and went straight to Barnes and Noble. I couldn't put it down. Reading your story has inspired me to get in touch with some of my old high school friends to see how they are doing. Thank you for sharing. I can only imagine how hard some of your story was to share. You are a special group of women. Hope Kelly and Angela are doing well.

(43) Kathy McKenna
Wed, 29 April 2009 14:02:48 +0000

My 6 friends and I have all grown up together since childhood. Lived in the same neighborhood..We belong to a sorority, we go on vacations every year together and have endured sickness, deaths, suicide, children problems, etc...We are all 63 yrs of we have been together a much longer time then these girls and seen alot more in our time.

My friends and I all went to the same school together, graduated in the same class of '64...And let me say this ...when anything happens to you or a member of your family (good or bad) they are the first ones by your side.
They are just as much family as my real family and more so.

(42) Dale Bisbal
Wed, 29 April 2009 03:19:53 +0000

I work for Borders book store in PA and this book was chosen as one of our key books this month. After looking over all three key books I chose to read this one so I could have a better idea of what I was recommending.

I'm so glad I did!
I haven't been touched by a book this way in a long time. I laughed so much my husband would turn and give me "the look". You know, the one silently asking me if I had lost my marbles. Thank gosh he wasn't up this morning when I was crying so hard I had to put the book down and go sit quietly on my deck and get myself together. I can honestly say that when I was done with this book I said a prayer for each and everyone one you and your families. I could go on and on about all the things that just grabbed me and held on but all it would boil down to is this:

Thank You. For every moment you let me spend with all of you.
Many blessings and much strength to all of you!

Dale Bisbal
Western Pennsylvania

(41) Lora Nicholson Rogers
Tue, 28 April 2009 20:13:14 +0000

So many girls from Ames...I am class of 82

I was reading the advertisement for the book in a Ladies Home Journal magazine in Texas, and I found myself calling my friends from Ames. Some still in Ames and some in other parts of the country. I received my book this week and can't wait to read it.

Growing up in Ames was a great experience and I visit frequently. It would be nice to have someone open the Boyd's Dairy again.

Congrats to the girls from Ames and thank you for the courage to share your stories. As well thank you Jeffrey Zaslow for selecting our girls from the many many emails you received.

(40) Carol Kohler
Tue, 28 April 2009 15:52:48 +0000

Perfect timing is the best way to describe this book. I sit here planning my 25 year high school class reunion, laughing hysterically one moment, shedding tears the next. Mr. Zaslow, you nailed it. This book is incredible. I have spent the good part of my life planning trips coast to coast with my best girlfriends. My best girlfriend is from kindergarden, we are now 43 years old. We live in the midwest and enjoy nothing more than planning our "talk show trips" to Oprah(12 times), Ellen in California, Regis, Tyra, Dave, and other talk shows in New York. Before Jerry Springer leaves Chicago, we just had to visit his show. We did. Now that was fun! My point is, whatever your fun is, just make sure you make your girlfriends a priority in your life. We just might be the only thing keeping each other sane when the rest of the world is driving us crazy. Thank you for this book. I'm sure to pass this along to my own daughter.

(39) Shirley Olson
Tue, 28 April 2009 02:17:18 +0000

I want to THANK YOU for sharing your lives with all of us. Oh so sincerely this book hit home and it's hard to believe that there is so much of what I experienced during that time in my life. Thank you so much you are so brave to have shared this with everyone - but believe it's so appreciated! I graduated in 1982 and I so wish that I had that group to relate too- although after having three children and meeting my "true love" the first day of college I only have one good true friend from that time - It made me envious - but then I realize that I have a whole new group of friends that I've been able to share with and cherish them so much. I've grown up so much in 27 years- you really don't know at such a young age how to handle tradegdy - heart ache - immaturety- and what it truly means to have a GENUINE friendship. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Stay strong and continue to be there for each other oh how that's so important! My Mom 81 yrs. young still gets together with friends that she walked to grade school and still goes to here high school and college reunions even though the numbers keep dwindling. Her memories are so good of how friendship was and should be. My Dad passed away this past November from a progressive brain disease and eventually Pnuemonia with MRSA invloved. It's so devastating - but It also is sad to lose a nephew (full term pregnancy) and watch a sister-in-law go through a mid-life crisis and see my brother hurt so much by what he thought was the love of his life. You truly are an inspiration to me to know that I'm not alone. Much love to all of you - in all of your triumphs and losses! We are currently reading your book in our book club and our neighborhood is one of those that the bonds run deep with families moving to Washington from all over the country and leaving dear friends - ailing parents - We needed to read a book of this calibur - ever how simple yet complex IT FULFILLS US - I hope to hear in the future how ALL of you are doing!

Thank you so much

Shirley Olson
Gig Harbor, WA

Mom of Zach 18, Sam 16 and Hanna 13 and most of all wife to Tom

(38) Kathleen Stander
Mon, 27 April 2009 22:42:58 +0000

My bookseller daughter presented me with this remarkable book as I lay moaning on the couch (strep throat) Sunday evening. It was my 24th wedding anniversary, but I was too sick to enjoy it. Instead, I sat up, put on my reading glasses (I'm 43), and pored over THE GIRLS FROM AMES. I grew up in Kansas City, but I did graduate from high school in 1983, and so many of my memories paralleled.
I read the book within 24 hours. Loved loved loved it. Will go to Borders as soon as I'm well to buy eleven copies to give to each of my Bunco sisters.
Thanks, girls, for opening your lives to others.

(37) julie
Mon, 27 April 2009 16:46:08 +0000

I too am an Ames girl, class of "85" ran right out and bought this book. it brought back so many memories. i too have a group of girl friends, we all grew up within a four block radious in Ames, 3 of us have been friends since the first grade at Roosevelt and the others joined in jr high school. i e-mailed one of the girls who lives in Southern Mo to tell her about the book, she too ran out and bought the book. we wanted to compare experiences. we both read the book and talked for hours about how similar we all are. We too remeber the keg's in the corn fields, Happy Joes Pizza and Boyd's Dairy!!! this book was a thrill and inspiration to all women friends. these bonds will never be broken.

(36) Ann
Mon, 27 April 2009 11:57:14 +0000

To all the girls:

Just finished reading the book. I laughed,cried and learn so much from each one of you.

You were terrific young girls while you were at Ames High and I remember each of you in different ways. You are all exceptional young woman and I am honored to say I know you.

I'm in awe of your continuing friendship and Love of each other.

Ann Stokka

(35) Karen Bush Hoiberg
Mon, 27 April 2009 01:58:23 +0000

I am from Ames and love your book! One of the girls, Jane, was a neighbor and even babysat for us a time or two. I am thrilled that the lives and interactions of these girls has been chronicled.

The minute I saw you book I thought, "That could be us....."

I grew up in Lincoln, NE with a remarkable group of friends. At age 64-65 we still get together every year - somewhere more "fun" than Lincoln! (We figure we're in Lincoln for our regular reunions) We've been to Sedona, Tahoe, Las Vegas (for our 50th!), Bodega Bay, Atlanta the year of the olympics, many times in Estes Park because one of the "girls" lives there, Green Valley, AZ, and on and on....

It doesn't seem to matter WHERE we gather, only that we DO gather!! We two have gone through births, deaths, divorce, etc. Five of us are still married to high school classmates! Two of us have survived cancer (one twice), one has died (Huntington's Chorea), one is gay, some are rich, some not doing as well; we are teachers, a lawyer, a college prof, realtor, social services, RN, entrepreneur; some graduated at the top of our class while others not so high. In high school some of us were cheerleaders while others cheered on from the pep club. Some were class officers; all the usual activities. We did not have girl's sports - however we would have been awesome!! Some of us have known each other since nursery school - I may be the "newest" - I moved to Lincoln in the 5th grade! M

We live in Iowa, GA, NC, CA, CO, AZ, MN, NE, OR, and Mexico. Although we are scattered once a year we are always together. A few years ago one of us remarried - all but one of us (we are 20 - about 16 active) showed up in Lincoln for the wedding. Camie had a party for us and we all went running to the Lincoln thrift shops and showed up at her door dressed as "bridesmaids."

Several years ago as we were losing parents, we were also welcoming grandchildren. To honor such events we began donating in their names to the University of Nebraska Foundation where we established a scholarship for a graduating senior from our high school...

We hold an annual meeting where we actually do have a meeting!! At that time we select our Circle of Friends Scholar of Promise and discuss other matters....we have "officers' ( we're very loose about all of this!). The Lincoln girls dine monthly - mainly for social reasons...the rest of us plan trips to NE around their schedule...we even have a fund for those who may need help getting to our annual "meeting". This is anonymous - only the member holding the fund knows whether or not is has been used.

I could go on and on....and I'm sure you'll hear from MANY such groups but we also feel ours in a unique group...women who have grown up together and love each other!

May our slumber party go on for years to come!

On behalf of Karen, Camie, Ann, Molly, Linda, Mary, Laura, Mary, Jean, Barb, Marian, Sandy, Cuz, Kate, Susan, Jane, Judi and Ginny

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