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Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Girls from Coker and Their 48 Year Friendships

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I picked up The Girls from Ames A Story of Women and a Forty Year Friendship at the library today and I have had my head in the book ever since.

These "girls" formed their friendship while in high school in Ames, Iowa. Born in 1969, they are now about forty years old. All of them live in different areas of the country, but almost every year they reunite somewhere for four days.

The author, Jeffrey Zaslow, interviewed them individually and corporately, poured through their scrapbooks and diaries (with permission) and gives us his conclusions based on all of their input and the scientific data available about the friendships of women.

"...females with close female friends are far less likely to be lonely"

"....women tend to let their childhood and adolescent friendships go until their forties when their own children are more independent .....

What about this book resonates with me? I LOVE my girlfriends past, present and future.

AND I STAY IN TOUCH WITH THEM.....whether they like it or not!

Childhood friends are so BFF, Leslie, and I reminisce about playing Toni dolls together, having secret hideouts in our neighborhoods, getting caught smoking by my mother, her teaching me to drive her mother's ever so cool convertible.....we have a bond no one else will ever have with us....she was the sister I never had.... Precious Memories!

High School Friends.....BTE Forever....our high school sorority.....formed by a bunch of us who weren't asked to be in any of the other sororities.... I still am in contact with two of you "girls" and we have other great memories....rush parties, joint meetings, skipping school, double dates, biology lab, Senior Prom......more Precious Memories!

College Friends......we confirm Jeff Zaslow's research.....we came sporadically to college reunions until our of our classmates had a serious recurrence of breast cancer and a bunch of us went to Isle of Palms to celebrate her recovery with her. Now we get together almost every year somewhere. We don't share childhood memories but college memories. In thinking about the book, I realize at Coker we were like a very small town with no parents, just dorm mothers, and professors that we all had in common. You can mention anyone who was on staff or a student at Coker during our time there and everyone of us will know who you are talking about and can contribute something about them.

Now that we are older, ahem, we are turning 66 this year.....we share our woes over aging, our joys over grand parenting, losses of husbands (and boyfriends) and we LAUGH!

Zaslow says, "...a study that tracked 1500 women as they aged found that close friendships---even more than family ties--help prolong women's lives"

I could go on naming other groups of friends.....Women's Aglow.....Bible Study..... Job's Daughter's...... that have enriched my life but you get the picture.

Girlfriends are a Girls Best take care of yours!


CokerCarol said...

Donna, I loved reading your meditation on enduring friendships. It made me smile. See you in a few weeks.


Anonymous said...

I am definitely consoled by your admission that sometimes friendships are put on hold until children are older. My three best friends and I have a terrible time of making time for each other. There's all this other stuff in the way, like husbands, kids, work, homeschooling, and church just to name four things out of a million.

Your friends sound great and you are a great friend to them! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

By the way, on the subject of women's enduring friendships, I think you would like to read "The Last Girls" by Lee Smith and the books of Christian writer Penelope J. Stokes.

Gabby said...

I love my girls! My prayer sisters are nicknamed "The Eight" like we are secret spies or something, and we laugh so hard. We cry too, but we laugh and love even harder.
I will never forget the days with them. Ever!

And that they care about my life. Awesome!

YankeeQuilter said...

Thanks for sharing the finding of his research and relating to your own life. I recently relinked to my college roommates (six girls in one apartment!) This is a bit true for sisters too...I have four... and though we have always been close we are now spending more time with each other now that the kids have grown.

I may need to go find a copy of that book...