— Relationships —

The Power Of Great Girlfriends

Gayle, Lee and me wearing aprons.
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“Brenda’s Breast Friends” at the Race for the Cure. I’m the one in the wig and the pink hat.
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What would I do without Joan?
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My sweet friend, Edie.
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This week Gayle and Lee, my two best girlfriends since high school, emailed that they want to come with me to see the Rolling Stones. Instead of flying to Dallas, by myself, and experiencing this fabulous happening, alone, the three of us are turning the weekend into a slumber party, complete with a road trip and a weekend at a great hotel. I’m a happy girl! The prospect of sharing this weekend with two women I love has made me think about the power of girlfriends and the importance of the friendships we form with women.


We all love the kind of women friendships we see in Nancy Meyers’s films, especially First Wives Club, Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated. They’re usually warm and supportive, with nary a cross moment, but real-life friendships aren’t always like that. While you may not agree on everything, a great friend is first and foremost about trust and loyalty. You don’t ever have to second-guess whether you can tell something to a great friend.

In many ways, Gayle and Lee and I are like sisters, except we’re borne of choice, not of blood. Like sisters do, we’ve had our moments, but in the end, we overlook that which we do not love about the other. We’ve lifted one another up and been there through the death of two husbands—mine—when one of us was in a convent—long story—two of us had breast cancer and our differences over politics and religion. But when all is said and done, we’re the women we call in times of trouble; the women with whom we want to shout good things from the rooftop.

Have you ever thought about how much harder it is to form deep friendships the older you get? Perhaps it’s because we have more history to share. It’s more difficult to tell our stories and paint a picture of who we are and how we got here. Could it also be that when most of us reach a certain age, we think we have all the friends we need or have time for? In order to have a friend, we must be a friend, and friendship is time consuming. Since starting 1010ParkPlace, I’ve met many women I’d like to develop a friendship with, but it all comes down to time and location. Even so, I shouldn’t let that stop me from making new girlfriends.

In the 1800s, women who lived on the Great Plains led lonely, exhausted lives. They were often isolated from larger communities, churches and schools. While their husbands worked in the mines or on cattle drives, women were forced to run the farm, work the land, grow, raise and slaughter their own food and raise the children by themselves.

It wasn’t unusual for women to die at a young age, or to be so overwhelmed and exhausted with the everyday’s of life, that they ran away from their families or went insane. Women friendships were rare. Women went to great lengths, often traveling for hours by horse and buggy just to be in the company of another woman.

The thing about women friendships is the special ones survive and find ways of restoring themselves. Is there a special girlfriend you haven’t talked to or emailed in a while, or maybe a new friendship you’d like to cultivate? Why don’t you reach out and say hello. Tell her how much her friendship has meant to you.

Love, Brenda


  • mamavalveeta03 April 25, 2015 at 9:26 am

    I read this with a pang of guilt, Brenda. My husband and I have moved so many times over the years due to his job, that I’ve let good, solid, “drag the corpse” friendships go…and I deeply regret it. Once you’ve hurt someone, can you ever go back again?

    As an aside relating to women of The Great Plains, my great-great Aunt Sadie left her family of origin in Wisconsin in the late 1800’s during the settling of The Great Plains in order to own her own property. She built a sod house in South Dakota and lived there as a single woman, farming the land. I come from a line of strong, independent women!

    • 1010 Park Place April 25, 2015 at 10:25 am

      Wow! You’ve got “grit” in your DNA! I think you may have answered your own question. Women that strong can do ANYTHING! What’s the worst that can happen? Your friends don’t respond? At least you tried. Call or email them and say, I’ve thought of you so many times over the years. Mea culpa, mea culpa. You can just stamp “Stupid” on my forehead, but please forgive me.

      A story from my own life: A great girlfriend’s husband and I had a disagreement and none of us had spoken in a bazillion years. When I was just starting 1010ParkPlace, I saw him on LinkedIn and reached out. They’re in NYC now, so the next time I was there, we all had dinner together and realized we’d both misunderstood one another. I have every friend I’ve ever made, so this was a particularly painful loss for me because we’d each played such an important role in one another’s lives. While I’m sad I missed being there when their kids grew up, I’m thrilled I see them frequently when I’m in NYC. I stand in awe of what they’ve accomplished with their lives and blessed to be a part of it now.

      • mamavalveeta03 April 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm

        Thanks for the encouragement!

        • 1010 Park Place April 25, 2015 at 7:25 pm

          You’d be surprised how understanding people can be. Yes, if you’re up for it, give it a try. “I was stupid, and I’m sorry” goes a long way, particularly when it’s true.

          • mamavalveeta03 April 26, 2015 at 11:06 pm

            I can only summon up the courage to try, and humble myself in hopes that they’ll accept my apology.

  • Jennifer Connolly April 26, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Great read that touched home in several places. It IS hard to make new good girlfriends as we age. I’ve lost a few in the last coyote of years that weren’t super close, but they were there for me. As I reflect, there’s only one friend I could call to help me hide the body, I’m going to give her a call this afternoon.

    • 1010 Park Place April 26, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      While I have some great girlfriends, not all would help me hide the body. Some would pray for me, while others would give me the number of a good attorney!

  • Jan Hasak April 26, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Great girlfriends are the best! Thanks for sharing. I consider you a special friend. xxx

    • 1010 Park Place April 26, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      Aren’t they though? Didn’t you say you might come to Texas after radiation? If so, tell me where, and I’ll be there! It’s way past time that we meet.

  • Elizabeth April 28, 2015 at 4:02 am

    Wonderful! Enjoy the Stones show with your sisters-by-choice!

    • 1010 Park Place April 29, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      So great to see you here! I love your Instagram photos.

      • Elizabeth April 30, 2015 at 11:21 am

        Thanks so much! Xoxoxo

  • Haralee April 29, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    It is so much easier with FB and Emails, and no cost long distance calls to stay in touch. Yes I would move the body for some friends and have a couple I could call on with no questions asked!

    • 1010 Park Place April 29, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Hi Haralee,
      Great to see you here, again! You’re right about the convenience and cost of email and social media. I remember when my grandmother returned home after visiting us, she’d make a collect call to herself, to my parents’ phone number: an inexpensive way of letting us know she’d gotten home safely. My grandmother was my favorite person in the world. I would have used my babysitting money to pay for the call if I could have visited with her longer.


  • Katherines Corner May 2, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    It is such a blessing to have friends like these. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop xo

    • 1010 Park Place May 16, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Hi Katherine!
      Great girlfriends are everything! Thanks for leaving a comment, here. There are so many blogs on blog hop, it’s difficult to check them all out, but I will find you!

      • Katherines Corner May 16, 2015 at 9:56 pm

        I’m the hostess so I will be easy to find me,at the Katherines Corner Thursday Favorite Things blog hop ( wink) xo

  • Surroundings by Debi May 3, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    How wonderful that the three of you are so close. I have a girlfriend like this and feel so blessed. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop!

    • 1010 Park Place May 16, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      You’re right! A good girlfriend is a blessing in our lives. I’ll find you on Blog Hop!

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