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May 31, 2007


Madeleine Beresford

These are great ideas to start writing, and to give yourself permission to write, in the midst of taking care of everyone else's needs. It is not always easy to give yourself those 11 minutes, so having this blog is really helpful. Thank you!


For anyone having trouble posting, just cut and paste into the comments--I'll check back to make sure you're able to post your entire piece--you can always post consecutive comments (installments! Like Dickens!) if need be......



My most recent best friend has held said title for around 7 years now. We met one another as each of us were entering new phases of our lives: Post Divorce (her) and Post Nervous Breakdown (me). It was a perfect meeting of the minds and the adventures we've had over the years have brought both laughter and tears and a mixture of both. I can still smell the air and taste the alcohol as we walked along Main Street in downtown Memphis around exactly three in the morning, after a night that began innocently enough with a basketball game into pitchers of beer into Ernestine & Hazel's into "Soul Burgers" into passing the big clock proudly displaying the time. She wore the wrong shoes and had taken them off as we marched along. My own clog-clad feet quickly went from clapclapclap to clap...clap...clap. Or the feeling of driving almost 20 hours straight (overnight) in a convertible (top down) to make it to the beach alongside the Atlantic Ocean. Fresh, fancy and free! Of course, now we are on the front porch of new adventures: Motherhood (her) and Back to College (me).


First, Janet--thank you for being brave and posting first.
Second, I love this sentence:
She wore the wrong shoes and had taken them off as we marched along. My own clog-clad feet quickly went from clapclapclap to clap...clap...clap.
For the change in pace, and the onomatopoeia--we are walking right along with you. Seems like a topic you could take many places--there's a little sadness underlying the post, and I encourage you to go for those stories in there, and the core of the relationship. It's great fodder, the changing of friendships--
Kudos to you!


Judy gazed out the train window, arms crossed, her chin resting on top with her forehead barely out the open window. Just enough to feel the swift cooling wind beating on her head. She watched the Spanish landscape whisk by, trees, telephone poles, winding roads, quick glimpses of lit up towns in the late evening. As she grew tired it began to get get harder to focus in on objects,as everything began to move together like stripes & lines. The deep hues of night bleeding into their own dark horizon. Then complete darkness as the train entered a tunnel. She inhaled the cool air before sliding the window upwards shut. Time to sleep & dream of what those Spanish families in their countryside houses were up to. Lying now in her sleeper car which she shared with 5 other strangers, Judy was cautious enough to sleep with her back to the wall. The back pocket of her black jeans contained her most valuable possesions for the moment; her passport & 200 euro to get her through the next few days. She closed her eyes and quietly imagined Sangria on the table of a small eat in kitchen. Olives & Algerian dates, a bottle of Spanish wine poured into the glasses of the parents & grandparents sitting at the small table. They're laughing & joking in their native tongue at a story told about the ninos who are now falling asleep to Mrs. Doubtfire dubbed in Spanish. Judy hadn't been living in Madrid long enough to make any friends yet. She wondered now if if her decision to head to The Costa del Sol on her own was such a good idea. Too late now, too late for alot of things. She would be in Malaga at sunrise and have to find the local train down the coast to what town, she still wasn't sure. She wished there would be someone there waiting for her. Waiting with a big hug, lifting her off her feet. Would there ever be?


Love it, Ardith, a very compelling beginning. Esp the sangria, dates, and olives. I also love "The deep hues of night bleeding into their own dark horizon," and wondered what that cool air smelled like...A trip (you) haven't taken? Just guessing. Thanks for posting! I want to know what happens next, why she's all on her own, what she's left behind....


I have known Debra for as long as I can remember. In fact, I can’t ever remember NOT knowing her. We’re only two months apart in age so perhaps we knew each other “womb to womb” since our moms were best of friends.

Funny girl. Small, tiny frame with massive amounts of hair. I can remember Debra’s age via her hairdo -- long “cousin it” style or short bobs that almost looked like a picture of those French girls from the 20s...spiral perms...hi-lites...no matter how short she cut it, it would magically appear back to an incredibly length and fullness within a few months. I always thought she was blessed.

Our childhood, although very connected and entertwined were nothing of the same. I came from the home of “positive hope” with parents -- and especially a mother -- who thought her children could be anything they wanted. President -- no problem -- female astronaut? Why the heck not. Debra came from the home that hoped she made it through school and married well...no college fund for the girls in her family! We were growing up in the 60s and times were very different then.

Debra and I spent almost every Sunday afternoon together -- straight from mass -- and family car -- to either her home in the country or ours in town. At her home, we ran through farm fields and played with barn animals and chewed long blades of grass. Those were good days filled with sun and sweat smells -- the good kind that said “job well done.” Sundays at my home were all about BBQs, movie matinees in the winter or hanging at the local community pool listening to great music like...”Come and Get Your Love..” and “Hot Fun in the Summer...” and it was...feeling incredibly grown up at 7 or 8 hanging at the pool without adult supervision. Talking about boys and truth books and our favorite teachers and crushes...and dreams for the future. Time passes quickly when you’re having fun.

We had our highschool graduation party together. I’ll never forget our peasant dresses we wore -- we could have been a sister cover on Seventeen Magazine. Perfect hair, teeth and dress. And, I was off to University and she was off to a full time job.

We spent many an hour together throughout our childhood and long into adult hood both in person and telephonically. Debra did marry -- a nice farmer -- cute in fact -- it lasted about two years. After that, she worked her way through school with no help from her family at all. In fact, they offered very little support in work or deed. My mother became her anchor and cheerleader her confidant and best friend. In fact, we were three best friends -- entertwined and yet leading very different lives.

Debra became a very successful clinician, naturapath and now corporate executive. With the passing of my mother -- came a passing of our friendship. We didn’t realize how much a part my mother played in our relationship until she was gone. We still connect once or twice a year -- but things are different for us now. She never married again. I had a career, have been married 16 years and am now a mother. We seldom entertwine anymore. Becoming a mother often changes relationships and not always for the better...

I miss her terribly and long for those Sunday afternoons and endless conversations...doing girly things....thinking hope-filled thoughts and reading "Seventeen". And I miss Debra's hair.


Sherry, this is gorgeous! Almost seems like an outline for a much longer piece. That last sentence slays me. That idea of the mother as a bridge to a friendship is fascinating. Have you ever read THE MYTH OF YOU AND ME (Leah Stewart)? Put it on your list! And keep writing, lady, you've got a lot to show!


This snuggly pup curled up at my side is special to me. He follows me around wherever I go, even to the bathroom. I love him so much. I know he is just a dog, but I really, really love him. He is here with me through the challenges of my life. He isn't the most friendly creature to others, but to me he is so affectionate. Black & white fur make him look somewhat like a formal fellow. Scrunched up nose, bug eyes & even his smelly breath make him one of the most adorable things in the world to me. I probably need the "Dog Whisperer" as I listen to myself think about him. I know, yes, he is just a dog, but to me...he is a huge part of my heart. :)


Three Writing Wishes...hmmm...as I sit here at 1:30 a.m. with kids & dogs asleep, I am feeling fortunate to have found a place to motivate me to write. I'm not a very confident writer. In college, I enjoyed creative writing a great deal. I can't say I'm very good at it, but it is exciting to express feelings and feel accomplishment. "Did I do that????" I need to practice these skills, as I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past few years. I love being fortunate enough to have this time with my two adorable daughters!!! However, I feel at times that I am losing some of my brain cells. It is such a hard job. I know...because I went back part-time after my first was born...and being home can be even more challenging at times. There are so many things going on at once that it is hard to take even a few seconds to just sit and write. Especially with an active toddler climbing and running all over the place! Anyway, if a writing fairy came down to me waving her magic wand for three writing wishes...first, I would wish that I was a good writer, I know that I could use some major lessons!!! Next, I would wish that I would stick to writing and practice. Finally, I would hope that I would have a published book someday...Goodnight...

Jenny White

Wind whipped through my hair as I raced home in panic. Why had they not let me in?

The day had begun like any other Saturday. I had come to see my friend, Alvina Marcella Weise, so proud that I knew her full name. But, she was Ally to me. Before she moved I had only to step out my front door and walk two steps to be in her apartment. We really shared the same house. This gray-haired spinster kept me company while my mother worked. The years have faded much of my picture of her, the brown dress she often wore during the week, the white wool coat she wore as she stepped into her ride to church on Sunday.

We often played solitaire, teacher and student. But, it's the meals I remember most: Cream of Wheat with the lumps still in, butter and sugar sandwiches on cookie cutter shaped white bread.

She moved to the new high-rise just as soon as it was ready and so began a weekly ritual of peddling my mom's yellow bike with the big balloon tires to see her. We would chit chat about events of the week over cookie cutter sandwiches.

Until that day. I got off the elevator to see policemen standing in the doorway. They would not let me in Ally's apartment and they would not explain why. I don't even remember if they said anything to me. Upon arriving home, my mom went to investigate. She returned with the dreadful news that my friend had died.

No one took the role Ally played in my life. I became a latch-key child after that, spending many hours alone after school until my mother arrived after work. I occupied myself with music and dress-up. It's funny, then, that I would miss Ally now. I would like to sit and chit chat again about the events of our weeks, to learn more of her life. I'm thankful she had time for a little girl.


Jenny, I do not know if this story is fiction or a part of your life, but it definitely touched a spot in my soul. My grandmother would watch me most of the time, my mother was sometimes unavailable due to work or such....and she too would give me "cream of wheat with the lumps still in as well as butter and sugar sandwiches on pieces of white bread....amazing...my nana passed last year and I miss her terribly. Thank you for provoking a beautiful memory that I had forgotten....

jenny w.

Marianne, it is indeed part of my life. So glad to hear you had a similar experience. Also that you have the beautiful memories! Hold on to those.

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