Friday, January 22, 2010

The Girls from Ames

Amazing Attributes of Aging; Silly and Sacred Stories of Blue Garter Friends was released on April 14, 2009. Ann Schmidt, one of our gang, a former Washington Post "copyboy" from the "60's who still devours east coast newspapers daily, emailed me with a copy of Jeffrey Zaslow's column from the Wall Street Journal that same week. Amazingly Pulitzer Prize winning Zaslow had just written a book titled The Girls from Ames. I immediately went out and bought the book. The women he featured were younger than we, their friendship group was smaller and their association shorter; the message of power, healing and joy through life-long support piggybacked on ours in a similar story. It is a great read.

The 27 life-long Blue Garter Friends of Mankato, Minnesota whose story is chronicled in Amazing Attributes of Aging are the mothers of the Ames' Girl's generation. Born a twenty years earlier, we found ourselves as teenagers focused on following convention. We studied hard to become the first in our families to be admitted to college and to graduate in 4 years. Many of us were wearing a wedding band by age 22. We married and raised our families while at the same time holding professional jobs; continuously supported by our steadfast Blue Garter friends. Proudly we establishing trust actively volunteering within the networks of our individual and international communities.

As our powerful story makes its way around the nation, we encourage other women to honor and to share their friendship stories. We continue to gather regularly in our retirement. We rejoice together, having more fun than anyone can imagine!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Filling Our Advanced Orders

A "self published" book is also "self financed". Mary and I never discussed the source of our seed money with each other, but I will reveal that my half was taken from the nest egg created by my teacher's retirement severance payment. I knew in my heart of hearts that some day when my passions were stirred, that money would lead me on a whole new path of satisfaction. Yes, quoting Mary Ellen Mark from the AAA's Dictionary section of the book, with this venture, "I felt prepared to do my strongest work yet."

Marketing our book began by reaching out to our 27 Blue Garter friends, this includes the 15 women who contributed to the "Silly and Sacred Stories" section of the book. The postal clerk and I became fast friends as I juggled dozens of padded envelopes and flat rate boxes of books mailed out to those women now living in 13 states. Their advanced orders combined with local sales to friends gave us just under $1000 in sales that first month.