Girlfriends are Forever!

I LOVE YOUR COMMENTS!!  You make me laugh; you make me cry!  You reminded me for the gazillionth time all the wonderful reasons I treasure my girlfriends!  So I thought I’d talk a little bit about girlfriends this morning with a little music to make us happy.

As many of you know, my connection to having best friends came very early in my life, probably the minute I noticed there was a difference between me and my four brothers; they liked snakes; they jumped off the roof; they broke their arms and got stitches, and they never wanted to play dolls. I had my mom, but my brothers had each other, and for a long time I didn’t have sisters.  I had to get me some girlfriends!!

Here I am with my first two best friends in life — that’s me, second from the right, the one with bows on her braids; the blond girl next to me is Cynthia Wrightman who lived across the street, and next to her is Melody Gelinas from four houses down. We were in the backyard of our house on Park Avenue, in Long Beach, California, with two of my brothers, the one we called “butterball,” Chuckie, on the right, and Stephen (the genius) on the far left, and a bunch of their friends.  My mom had been having fun, body painting the neighborhood with watercolors.

I lost touch with these two girlfriends; our family moved away when I was seven and although we went back and visited a couple of times, we couldn’t keep the connection.  That’s what happens sometimes; things change, people move, life takes a turn and sometimes you have to start all over.

 There are simple basic necessities of life, things we just can’t live without: food, water, shelter, clothing . . . (I was asking Joe this morning, “what are the basic necessities of life?”  He said, “Food, shelter . . .” I could hear him thinking, his eyes twinkled, . . . “gin” :-)) . . . and one of my basic necessities is best girlfriends.

When I moved to Martha’s Vineyard from California all those years ago, I didn’t really stop to think what I was leaving behind.  I was so busy escaping, I forgot that I was going to a place where I had NO BEST FRIENDS.  In fact, no friends at all.  It’s so easy to make friends when you’re a child, easy to do when you’re in school, but as you get older, it becomes more difficult, especially if you work at home, aren’t married, and don’t have children.  By the time I figured this out, it was too late, I had already moved!  But even though I had left California, there was no way I was going to disconnect from my girlfriends!!  I considered my phone bill for long distance calls to  Diana, Elaine, Sarah, and Janet, to be just part of the “cost of living,” one of life’s necessities no matter how much it cost, like tea, or chocolate.  They were my lifeline.

I didn’t know how to find kindred spirits when I first came to the island.  It had always been so easy before.  But now I was alone, without any connections.  It was only several years later, after I was finally rescued by my darling BFF Margot, and welcomed back to the heavenly supportive world of tea-party-having, garden-admiring, tear-drying, wallpaper-shopping, soup-delivering, yard-sale-hopping, girl-party-having, shoe-admiring, old-movie-watching, lunch-dating, farmer’s market-going, road-trip-taking, TGIF-ing girlfriends, that I realized that I might have assimilated much sooner if I would have joined something, a quilting or knitting class, volunteered for something; if I’d worked with like-minded people, shoulder-to-shoulder, on a project so that friendship had a chance to grow organically.  But I was shy and all alone and I didn’t know that.

Girlfriends aren’t a luxury, even though they feel like the biggest luxury of all!  It’s been proven that women who lack support from other women are more susceptible to illness!  We need each other in more ways than one.  I started thinking of what I would have told my ten-year-old self about the importance of girlfriends if I could have . . . and wrote this for my book, Girlfriends Forever…

In your comments yesterday I noticed a few of you had recently moved, or were planning to move, and I thought maybe this would help. Virtual girlfriends are wonderful (don’t we know it!); long distance best friends are easier to hold onto these days because of email, but still, not too much takes the place of two dear friends, eyeball to eyeball, having tea at each other’s kitchen tables, petting each other’s animals, talking-talking-talking, commiserating over each other’s sadnesses, celebrating each other’s joys.  And let’s not forget, laughing our pants off!

You know what I’m going to do when my girlfriend comes to tea today?  I’m going to play this funny song for her and then show her the page I did for my new book yesterday. Would you like to see it too? Here’s a little preview just for you . . . for my girlfriends, with a quote we all know is true . . . 

Ask me if I had fun painting this!  Yes I did! OK girlfriends, that’s all, have a wonderful day!!  And thank you for being my friends. 

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300 Responses to Girlfriends are Forever!

  1. Janis says:

    Dear sweet Sue…It is YOU we should be thanking. You brighten our days like no other. Virtual girlfriends…yes, that’s what we are and it’s a very close second to being there in person, in the flesh, eyeball to eyeball. ♥ I LOVE your new apron page for new book! I grew up hanging onto my Grandma’s apron and now I wear one just because it reminds me of her. ♥ Are you reading our minds again…?

  2. Kerry S. says:

    What a wonderful post, Susan! I’m so lucky to have my BF in my life – we met in 3rd grade over 50 years ago! We’ve had our ups and downs and lost contact for a couple of intervals but we really are sisters at heart! We go to Montana to see her and her family every year. I have other acquaintances – even one of my high school classmates in my life but no one like my BF! Our husbands have learned to just listen and be amazed when we get together! There’s nothing better than one good friend in our lives as many of the responses here indicated! I think it is one of life’s blessings to have a friend – and to be one too!

  3. Judy Tracy says:

    Your reminders are so right on. Starting with sisters who I would hope for everyone are their best friends. My older sister was recently widowed and now we talk almost every night before we go to bed. What a treasure and so good for both of us. Thank you for all your loving thoughts! Judy Tracy:>)

  4. Trish K. says:

    Is unseasonably warm tonight in Missouri, and there is a thunderstorm! I wish it could be wintery instead. Im just tossing and turning, cant sleep and worrying about work problems…so I thought I would read your last post again. But there is a new one! Yay! Thank you! What you say about girfriends is so true, I love your girlfriend book, and your ideas about going out and meeting people with similar interests. And, in reading the other comments, its so good to see everyone supporting one another. There are still caring people in this world!

    • Cindy Maulin says:

      hi trish..i am in Missouri too..st. louis…the weather has been so crazy!! last night at 2:15 am the tornado sirens went off..bolted right out of bed!!! and to the basement…hope things at work settle down for you….take care and have a good day today!!! c

      • Trish K says:

        Hello Missouri-Sister Cindy! Thank you for your kind words! It really helps to know someone cares! I didn’t hear our tornado alarm go off, but it sure was stormy! Glad you survived it. Today we have had three seasons. Though, I’m sure its colder in St. Louis than in Cape. I hope all is well with you, and the weather has settled down for you today. Have a great day!

        • DonnaRay says:

          Hey Trish, you’re in Cape? and Howdy to Cindy in St. Louis. I grew up on a farm down the Mississippi River, just north of Sikeston. We’ve lived in NY now for years, but get “down home” often and always love a visit to AnnieLaurie’s in Cape… bet she has aprons like the one Susan painted. Your stormy weather just arrived here on the shore of Lake Ontario, huge whitecaps and wild wind. I love a stormy night …..when I’m cozy inside. Love finding Missourians among the girlfriends! As always, DonnaRay

          • Linda K Foster says:

            I have a son in Buffalo, was thinking our storm was probably hitting there this evening. . rain turned to sleet to snow. temps are really dropping. but not for long. they say we are to be back in the 40s this weekend! crazy winter for sure. This week has been our first big snow for the season.
            I do so love that apron too!!

  5. Heidi Rose says:

    What a wonderful post! 🙂 It makes me think of my best friend Diane. We met in the 8th grade in CA and her friendship and infectious laughter got me through Jr. High. She moved away just a year later and even though we wrote letters, we eventually lost track of one another. We both now live in WA state. Amazingly, Diane and I happened re-meet when we bumped into one another one day, 28 years after last seeing each other and discovered that we lived only 2 blocks from each other! We get together often for tea, walks, craft-fair shopping and lots of laughter. Being with her is like being 14 again! I think God knew I was lonely and needed an old friend, somebody who knew me “when” and brought her back into my life. Susan, your blog has inspired me to host a Girlfriend’s Valentine Tea at my house! I love tea, baking goodies, and what better way to let my friends, old and new, know how much I love and appreciate them. I appreciate you too, Susan for the way you touch my heart with your words and artwork and inspire me to be the best I can be for my family, friends and myself. ♥ Thank you!!!!! ♥ ♥ ♥

    • Linda K Foster says:

      wow! that was an amazing gift from God for sure huh? I know the feeling. I reconnected with my best friend from high school/church after not seeing her for several years. It was like we just took right back up where we left off! It just felt so good to see someone that knew me way back when. That connection . . there’s just something so special about it. Make new friends but keep the old. . . .one is silver the other gold.

  6. Jacqui says:

    Thank you thank you thank you!! Am feeling a million times better from your reply to my last comment and now this post. You are inspiring Susan, I really am going to start that blog – this weekend in fact – watch this space! Hugs xx

  7. Pam says:

    I love the painting for your new book Susan. My hubby is my best friend so I’m classing him as an honorary girlfriend! lol. Before he retired he worked with quite a few female colleagues and they included him as one of the girlies. My daughters uni friends also called him one of their flatmates.

  8. Doreen Strain says:

    Hi Sue,
    Great post today and ohhhhhh so true. Having friends is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. I have moved so I can relate to how you felt. It’s hard when your in a new area. I miss my friends from up in NY but we too keep intouch by phone, FB and by emails and snail mail cards. There’s just such a great feeling it gives us to be able to spend some time together. Some of my best times were rides in the car together when we were going someplace. Great conversations were had. Lots of memeories to hold onto. I’m sure the “girlfriends” here can relate to all of this. Just so nice to have friends and some of us lack the time to work on those relationships so being able to have “girlfriends” here where we all have a kindered spirit is so nice. Thanks for making your blog available for all of us to gather and share in your and each others friendship. FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  9. Trace says:

    How blessed I am with a new Friend this year.
    I too moved almost four years ago and was praying for a new friend.
    I started a blog and met the sweetest Friend!
    Girlfriends are truly the best.
    Love your post as always.
    Love & JOY

  10. Missy Moore says:

    What a beatiful post! I moved to MS 10 years ago, and try as I might, I’ve not been able to cultivate friendships even though I’ve volunteered, joined clubs, taken hot meals and cookies to families in need, attended church,etc. Apparently, unless you were born and raised where I now live, you will always be an outsider. I am so thankful for my BF’s in Texas, California and North Idaho and although they live far away, they have been my lifeline. I’m also so very thankful for your wonderful blog and Willard. Friends are such a treasure, and if someone has only one person they can call a BF, they are rich indeed.

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Missy, I know exactly what you are feeling like. We lived in a small town in northern Minnesota for the first 7 years of our marriage. The joke was that you had to have 2 generations buried in the local cemetary before you were considered “one of the locals”. The people there grew up together and it was isolated enough that not a lot of new people moved into the area. I eventually did make a good friend but it was lonely for quite a while. I still think church is the best place as hopefully people are a little more caring and open-minded there. Don’t give up hope! 🙂

      • Missy Moore says:

        Thank you so much for your reply, Pat. And no, I won’t give up 🙂

        • Missy Moore says:

          Thanks, Tamar. Your story is almost identical to mine regarding the small rural town and the husband’s family and even the Facebook connections. It’s like living that old TV show,”Green Acres”. My heart goes out to you, yet I’m thankful to know that I’m not alone. We’ll keep trying!

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Just be thankful for the Internet with Facebook, Twitter, and blogs such as Susan’s! They didn’t exist back when I was living in “isolation”. 🙂 Of course, that is when I did the most of my weaving, spinning, and quilting as well as reading, etc. My house was well-organized and always clean. But it was a terribly lonely time, in retrospect, when I think back on it…I taught several quilting classes at the time and though everyone was nice to me, they would sit and discuss plans to go for lunch and I never felt comfortable saying, “How about ME–can I come, too!” Guess it is a lesson to all of us to be open-minded and considerate and include others in our own lives when the opportunity presents… 🙂

  11. Gert says:

    Oh my dear Susan…I read this yesterday & it brought back so many wonderful memories! I too only had two brothers..so I missed having a sister also! So..in some I was a Tom Boy..smile…but I loved my girlfriends! As you say though…life changes…some you keep…some you acquire along life’s journey….I would like to add another way of finding & loving new friends & that is through the Red Hat Society! What a godsend that has been for so many of us!

    Thank you for this wonderful post…you always know just the right things to say & write about!

    Blessings,
    Gert

    • Karen D says:

      I have never heard of the Red Hat Society. I can relate to many of the girlfriends here who have moved fairly often and need to connect to some “across the table” girlfriends. So – would love to hear another good idea – Red Hat?

  12. Madeline says:

    Such a wonderful entry — thank you! I bet through the wonders of the Internet and the girlfriend network that you will soon be in touch with Cynthia and Melody. Won’t you have a lot to catch up on!

  13. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    OK.. its official. I’m a Susan Branch junkie! I’ve read all the entries this morning and feel so connected to everyone! My very first SB book was “Girlfriends Are Forever”, given to me by my first girlfriend, who just happens to be my cousin!

    I’m calling the Tattered Cover bookstore this morning to see about that book signing! When you say a hundred, is that in pre-sold tickets?Whatever it takes! Also, I loved your article in Romantic Homes! I saw the quilt picture and knew instantly it was yours! <3 to all!

    • sbranch says:

      However that works best, see what they say . . . I will advertise it on Facebook too! Love the Tattered Cover!!

    • Susan Bryza says:

      Hi Christine,

      Aren’t you lucky to live near the Tattered Cover? It is where my husband (at the time) purchased my very first Heart of the Home book back in the 1980s. Remember when it was in that little shop in Cherry Creek? How it grew!!:)

      Love Joyce and her bookstore. Could roam there for hours!!! We need to support our independent bookstores! (Have you been to the Boulder bookstore up on the Boulder mall?)

      Sue (currently from Big D but missing my Colorado roots!)

      • Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

        Hi Sue! The Cherry Creek Tattered Cover will always be my favorite! I venture into Boulder once in awhile and love going to the Pearl Street Mall. The shops are so unique and as interesting as some of the street people! And talk about your beautiful backdrop! Those foothills are gorgeous!! Hope I get to meet you at the book signing!
        Hugs!

    • Leah Sandidge says:

      I come in from my day and I can’t wait to read your blog. It is so comforting to realize that because I like old quilts, glass wear that was my grandmother’s, reading Gladys Taber books (I could go on and on) that I don’t have to be like a lot of my friends who feel as if everthing has to match and be brand new. My friends always wonder how I can be so content but I know in my heart that this is the reason. Thank you for sharing your memories with us. Leah

  14. pat addison says:

    hello susan, good morning all. i’m glad you let me be your girlfriend, and today my girlfriend and i are going to be little kids and go play in the snow..yes we have snow here in oregon and we plan a snow day, care to join us??? you are more than welcome. see you out in the yard, dress warm and have mittens. see you there. have a great day everyone!!! 🙂

    • Karen P says:

      Can we make a snowman, too, Pat?! 🙂

      • pat addison says:

        sure can, do you remember to bring a carrot for his nose???

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          The problem will be finding the coal for his eyes and mouth…where is coal to be found nowadays? 🙂

          • Tamar Weaver says:

            Pat, I wanted to say thank you to you for your reply to my reply to MIssy. You remind me of my good Freind Lillian in Fl. and I loved your thoughts about keeeping others feelings in mind. Thanks!

  15. Kimi says:

    Good Morning Susan

    Their must have been something within yourself that made you move. I feel it was by Gods grace to show you the way and you took the chance and made the move! Sometimes we can become afraid of the unknown and not want to leave where we are most comfortable! but you did and you follow threw! sure glad you did… (It takes guts) Susan when looking at the picture of you and friends geeee which one is Susan hey not to be funny but you have not change too much just grew up! I love the painting of the house apron very detailed love the colors. Have a good day XO…

  16. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Perfect post for yesterday! 3 GFs & I spent the day celebrating Christmas & a Birthday, on a field trip to 2 quilt shops, &, of course, stops for coffee & lunch! A beautiful day with treasured girlfriends! One of my gifts was an apron, from the 30’s, embroidered! BTW, I went to 8 different schools growing up, in 7 different towns, & I was very, very shy – moving was torture for me! One place we lived, no close by friends, except my cat & kitten & dolls – with their love, I survived! We’ve lived in this house since 1965, phew, such a relief for me! Now, I have many girlfriends (including you dear, sweet Sue, & all your blog pals!), close by & far away, new and old, and it’s ok! We can do it! xoxo

  17. Priscilla says:

    Well this post really hit home for me. I moved from my home in Southern California to South Dakota five years ago to be near my daughter and her family. While I love being near the family, leaving friends was very difficult and being rather shy it was difficult to meet new friends. But I had done many of the things you have suggested and finally after a couple of years I met a wonderful lady in a bookclub who is a knitter like me. This led to weekly get togethers for knitting and she introduced me to volunteering time making “Bottles of Hope” for cancer patients at a local hospital all of which introduced me to new people. Her husband’s work have led them to living in many different states so she was a pro and meeting and making new friends, and now I consider her one of my lifetime friends.

  18. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan…good morning!!! i just loved your girlfriend post…so very true….several months back i purchased 2 “Girlfriends Forever” book from your store. both were signed by you…yippee…!! i bought one for me and one to give my BFF of 40 years….she lives in LA,CA..so we don’t see each other much, but have been able to stay connected..especially here lately as she got an iPad…i had just got her book ready for the mail (her birthday is jan. 24) and lo and behold..i pull up your BLOG and there is this fantastic heart-warming girlfriend post…perfect timing all the way around….excited about the new book…hope things are going well at MV!! sending warm thoughts to you….love, cindy

  19. OK Missy….I’m gone for 1 day and come back on this morning to see you with a new blog (adorable apron) and even some Susan Comments?? did I miss something while away…..are you having trouble not hitting your reply key?? HA I cannot ever remember a time when my dear Grandmother from AL did not wear an apron….she used it to carry things….wipe her hands on….surround us with her soft, warm, hugs…aaahhh such sweet memories. Grandmother sewed apron clothespin bags do you remember those?? I have several of those and everytime I take a clothespin out of one or hang it on the line outside she is right there with me. I agree totally about human contact vs virtual relationships with girlfriends, BUT circumstances, involvements socially, and shyness can keep someone from reaching out….I now have an elderly friend that I met last June when I was new to this neighborhood and she has 2 daughters and has been kind to include me in her life. I am a home body of sorts so for now this relationship is comfortable and we share a lot of laughs. If you are not lucky enough to have friends close to your age, or sisters, there isn’t anything wrong with a loving, caring, sensitive hubby to share your life with either. Friends come in many packages and when someone enters your life that makes you happy, embrace the gift and reach out to include others that might be struggling or having a hard time meeting others….there is always room for more love and happiness.

  20. OK Missy….I’m gone for 1 day and come back on this morning to see you with a new blog (adorable apron) and even some Susan Comments?? did I miss something while away…..are you having trouble not hitting your reply key?? HA I cannot ever remember a time when my dear Grandmother from AL did not wear an apron….she used it to carry things….wipe her hands on….surround us with her soft, warm, hugs…aaahhh such sweet memories. Grandmother sewed apron clothespin bags do you remember those?? I have several of those and everytime I take a clothespin out of one or hang it on the line outside she is right there with me. I agree totally about human contact vs virtual relationships with girlfriends, BUT circumstances, involvements socially, and shyness can keep someone from reaching out….I now have an elderly friend that I met last June when I was new to this neighborhood and she has 2 daughters and has been kind to include me in her life. I am a home body of sorts so for now this relationship is comfortable and we share a lot of laughs. If you are not lucky enough to have friends close to your age, or sisters, there isn’t anything wrong with a loving, caring, sensitive hubby to share your life with either.

  21. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Morning Sunshine…Twirling into Girlfriends….Tea~Parties…Memories…Brothers & Sisters….Boyfriends & Hubbies….Connecting….”Kindred~Spirits”….Kitties & Doggies….(meow & woof) Thank You for BringingMuch Joy & Love into Our Lives Sweetest Sue!…warm Hugzzzzzzzz….& Always lots of FairyDust! Yay! xoxo Poof! 🙂

  22. Sharon Byars says:

    We, women, are “wired” so different from men. We know how important our girlfriends are to us. I moved to Austin, Tx. From CA, then back to Ca. Leaving behind close friends along the way and now making new friends. Great advice to get involved in activity that interests you. Your accomplishments are an inspiration to all as I can feel your pain in “running away from Ca.” and “it took several years to find a good friend”. BUT, much to be gained from those difficult times in our lives. Thank you for your blog.

  23. Diana says:

    I have moved many times in my life.. mostly early in my married life. I have been blessed with a few REAL best friends. I must say that my hubs is my best friend but my best GIRLfriends are my two sisters… they are beyond special to me and they love me without reservation! What an awesome gift that is!… I truly have had only about four REAL best girlfriends.. my younger years one I will call, one from when all my children were young and then now.. having met her at work and we both thought.. hmmm, totally not my type, but we ended up being EXACTLY each other’s type… through joys, children, tragedies, sadness, anger, betrayal (by others), and mostly the love… we finish each other’s sentences and sometimes talk at the same time! Hee! but my favorite is to get away for a weekend of girl time!! We have been known to miss exits because we were talking so much!…Having had three sons, it was nice to escape the Testosterone house – or the T-zone as I “lovingly” called it and be a girl again!… I thank God for her and my other girlfriends.. especially my sisters .. who are great road trip people too!… They make life so much MORE!!!
    Thanks and love to all the e-BFF’s out there, especially here .. what a treasure!

  24. Juliene Bramer says:

    Ahhhhhhhhh thank you Friend Susan!

  25. Barb says:

    Love your post for today ~ and. . . . I’m snagging that last quote! 🙂

  26. julie says:

    Love that photo! Do you remember Pier Point in Long Beach? I don’t know if it’s still there, but it was a favorite place for our family to go. I loved feeding the seals, riding the rides and eating smoked halibut and saltines. I even had my first (and only) helicopter ride from the pier. I was two and my mother was very pregnant with my little sister. My dad and I climbed in and I remember watching my mother get smaller and smaller through the glass floor of the helicopter. I remember seeing her look up at us, wearing her white coat with a double row of buttons up the front, waving and holding her hand above her eyes to shield the sun. I don’t remember anything else about that ride, just that image of her. You help me remember things like that. My mom and my sister are two of my best friends and we are so lucky to live just a few miles from each other. Thanks Susan for taking me on that little side trip! 🙂

  27. God I love you Susan Branch 🙂

  28. Stephanie says:

    I don’t know what your next book is about – but I love that painting of the apron. Lovely! I can’t wait to buy the book – whatever the subject.

    On another note – can you ask your computer-wizard-people if we can have a “search” function? Or at least an archive of the blogs by month and year? That way we can click on a month and all the blogs from that month pop up? I was wanting the recipe for that lime drink you made (in the summer with evaporated milk, poured through a strainer) and it took forever to keep hitting “older” and then scrolling. The other fun part is that – say in December – we can then go back and click on the December blogs from 2011,. 2010, 2009 etc. and get all your Christmas blogs in an easy to manage function.

    Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      I sent your email in to the powers that be, lets see what they say! I love the idea!

      • Aggie says:

        Funny…was thinking about asking the same thing today after searching around for a recipe I knew I saw somewhere on your site….hope they can make it happen!

        • sbranch says:

          I’m trying to put most of the recipes, at least the fallish winterish ones, at the top of the blog page, under How to Cook, there’s a drop down and several recipes are there.

    • Cindy Tuning says:

      I wanted to make that yesterday but couldn’t remember the recipe.That would be great!

    • Paula B. says:

      Great idea!

  29. Ginnie says:

    You are so right, Susan! There is nothing like girlfriends. Of course, when sisters are girlfriends, too, it’s doubly good.

    I wonder if your two lost girlfriends are out there somewhere, not realizing that Susan Branch is their old neighbor Susan Smith. (Because everyone knows Susan Branch, right? If they don’t, they should!)

    And, by the way, I hope you realize how good for our health you are, Susan! You are one of my life’s basic necessities. Along with gin. 🙂

  30. Sally R. Radley says:

    I absolutely love everything you write and I get so excited when I see you have another blog!! I print them all out so I can read them when I get a chance,,,it is hard to wait but sometimes I have to. I have quite a stack of them and I love them!! Your kitty pics are wonderful and I love watching Jack play with his toy,,,we have always had cats until the oldest one died a few years ago,,21 years ago,,he looked like Jack…I do love Girl Cat too! I have had my closest girlfriends since we were in the 9th grade and still talk all the time, we are lucky because they are all married to my husbands best friends! Can’t wait for your new book, I will be the first in line for it,,loved your page you did and know I will love the book,,,I have all of your books and have given them away to my girlfriends,,starting with your “Heart of the Home” book! Think I have rattled on long enough,,just wanted you to know how much I enjoy you! I made a mistake above,,our cat Fred was 21 years old, sorry!!

  31. Nina says:

    Hi Susan What a wonderful post again! I have been truely blessed with best friends throughout my life so far and I believe that the lord sends you different friendships for different “chapters” of your life! Friends at primary school, friends at high school, collage, uni. Friends for hanging out with, and then “grown up” friends! And if you are truely lucky….all of these in one friends! Some friendships are meant to last, some are great friendships but not meant to last forever.
    I have the bestest friend ever! I have told you about her before. We have been through so much together and then she moved to New England. I am soooo proud of her she is raising 3 boys and working full time as a teacher and studying her Masters degree! I miss her so much and sometimes we schedule a transatlantic cuppa together! Up until the last couple of years I have been able to visit her once sometimes twice a year but the way things are at the moment and with a teenage son’s racing to support who know’s when I will get there again. (I will I know it!)
    Talking of racing I know your time is precious but I thought you make like to take a peep at my sons website (and any other girlfirnds who may like to take a peep) to see how I live the “other part of my life” as a racing Mum! I practically spend the months from April until October racing and then back to playing house! You and the girlfriends keep me sane sometimes Susan! lol in a testostorone filled world! Brads site is http://www.bradhracing.com. Many thanks xxxx

  32. Tricia B. says:

    Love the blog!! So, thank you dearest Susan!! Friends are awesome and help keep us all sane!! 🙂 Thank you for your friendship, advice and constant inspiration. I was wondering~ you mentioned a blog about “tea” in an earlier post but the moon was so beautiful…I am curious about the “tea” blog? I know you are busy with your book, your blog, your precious Joe and darling kitties and countless other things so please don’t think I am being pushy…I was just wondering if we might see that post? It is very chilly and damp here in ole’ Brazil, Indiana today and a pot of tea sounds divine…I think I will go and at least fix a cup! GOD Bless!!! Love and Hugs!!! Tricia B.

  33. Lori says:

    Girlfriends are just the best! I find when I am with different friends I am different ages. For example, my friend from college days and I are twelve. We are bold and daring and just a little sassy – ready to take on what life gives us. Another dear friend and I are five. We share secrets, love of dolls and bears, and hold hands as we cross the street. Your apron is awesome – wish I had a real one like it.

  34. cris says:

    Love your post. Love your Girlfriend book which I bought a few years ago.
    I have been following your work and buying your calendars & most of your books for years in fact and when I found out you had a blog I was thrilled. Something coming from you regularly. I have always wondered where you come up with your ideas. Where does all this fun stuff keep coming from? I am so glad you decided to share it all with us. 🙂 Looking forward to the new book.

  35. Christine Anderson says:

    I love your blog and look forward to it!! I reread them many times for the little gems therein!

    Friends are so important and I love having them in my life as it enriches me!

  36. jane zamudio says:

    speaking of joining to make freinds! i had the most wonderful experience..I stopped at our little country store, the book-mobile was there and i love to visit it when i can!, and the driver asked me to follow her as she was just leaving to go to a little housing development up the road. Sooo i did! I walked onto the mobile and soon i saw all these women descending twords us!! Some had small children and some had walkers, some were carrying pots of water!! I was memsormized. I had to see what was goin on! I walked out and started hearing “Tea Party!”, are ya stayin?. Well, not only did I stay, ive started taking my sister-in-law! I love this!. I have freinds that love books and movies, animals and kids! A little curiousity led me into a wonderful place!

  37. Emily Merrill says:

    Just a few Simple words…I LOVED this post!

  38. marty kunkis says:

    Oh, Susan, how this blog hit home!

    When I was growing up I had 3 close girlfriends from school. Interests, classes and some different asociations and activites aligned each of us more closely with one of the others.
    Then off to college and marriage and moves all around and pretty soon we were writing at Christmas primarily and a few infrequent visits through the next 50 (!) years kept two of us from never losing contact, but not having many of the kind of precious moments that you remind us of. We each made other friends, but never quite the same. We ,after all, had vowed to be sisters forever. (Actually, we vowed to be “spinster sisters” but that changed with the marriages)

    This fall, my dear friend became seriously ill- and I was still far from her -so I made a point of sending more letters, e-mails, and among other things offered your blog as a small gift to her everyday. I expressed sorrow at not having had more time together. And her reply will always be in my heart–She said that we have a connection that nothing can change-and that is where the “forever” part of girlfriends forever becomes so meaningful. She died on December 16th.

    My Valentine this year to family and friends is one that I sent many years ago and just found again. It is a George Eliot quote “I like not only to be loved but also to be told that I am loved. I am not sure that you are of the same mind, but the realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave. This is the world of light and speech, and I shall take leave to tell you that you are very dear.”

  39. Susan Joy says:

    Hi Susan,
    I told myself that I wasn’t going to buy anything I really didn’t need since I’m still paying for Christmas gifts. Well, a box from Susan Branch came today and I’m really glad I went ahead and ordered a few things. Please tell Sheri that she did an amazing job making the Love Birds. They are absolutely adorable! I also love the dishtowel that goes with my Susan Branch recipe box that I’ve had for so many years. This blog about friends was very sweet, thank you again!
    Love, Susan

  40. DonnaRay says:

    Susan, I continue to be amazed how you always talk about something that is particularly meaningful and timely……….how you do that, girl? I just read a message from a friend about research at Stanford that showed that the healthiest thing a man can do is marry a woman and the healthiest thing a woman can do is have girlfriends! So, when we are laughing, having tea and cookies and talking, talking, talking with our girlfriends we are actually doing the equivalent of exercising and dieting to stay healthy…………now, that’s my kind of healthy living! I just finished cleaning up from a party with 20 women to chase the winter blues away. We wore blue clothes, ate blue food (blueberries, bluecorn chips with blue cheese dip and blueberry muffins) and boosted our endorphins. Yeah for Girlfriends…..virtual and the huggable kind. As always, DonnaRay

  41. Sarah Maldonado says:

    I was feeling a little weepy yesterday after reading your post and the quote about little pieces of heaven on earth, too sad to comment about why, but then I read the comment from one of our friends on here about losing her husband in December. I’m still thinking of her and hope she’s doing ok.
    But tonight decided you needed to know that I received a call a while ago from my brother’s friend whom I entertained at Christmas with “his gang” and she wanted the recipe for Corn Chowder that I fixed that night…YOUR Corn Chowder. See how your recipes bring people together? I didn’t know her until then but she was a friend of my late sister-in-law and came to the gathering to support my brother. Now, I feel as if I have a new friend because she wanted that recipe. We ARE all in this together and weepy moments can turn to smiles…

  42. Paula B. says:

    Thank you, Susan, what a wonderful post. I met my BFF in first grade at St. Margaret School, fall, 1960. In the fourth grade she won the Math Medal for her high grades, we were just chuckling about that on Sunday as we and our husbands watched the big football game (the girls like the Pats, guys the Giants????). We stood up for each other at our weddings and I can’t count all the wonderful adventures we have shared throughout our lives. I was an only child and June had three brothers, guess we were destined to meet each other. Here’s to our girlfriends!

  43. Cindy Tuning says:

    Susan, your post made me miss my best friend of all time, Clair. We met when our first babies were a year old and we lived next door to each other.We moved apart for a while and then ran into each other and both said “guess who’s pregnant with their third baby? Well,we both were.I bought a house on the same block she lived on and our lives ran parallel from then on.We were both in bad marriages, divorced and were single parents together supporting each other through it all. We never missed a day of having tea together at my kitchen table.Walking our babies in strollers, going to school plays, picking up each others kids from school…for 19 years.I would buy a new teacup and I would get two..one for Claire. Eventually as our kids became adults we found new loves in our lives and Claire moved away.We talk now and then but not like it used to be. I guess God puts people in our lives that we need…when we need them but I miss my forever friend.I’m grateful for that and for you and everyone else out there that although we’ll never meet..we feel connected because our hearts speak the same language.Thank you.

  44. Sheryl from Foresthill says:

    I will join the bandwagon and say you are a mind reader. This wonderful post gave me inspiration as I am one of the people who just recently moved to a new town. In fact, I’m not Sheryl from Foresthill anymore, I will be Sheryl from Chico, CA from now on. I have the Girlfriend Book and all your other books and cookbooks too. I plan to reread it this week. That’s the fantastic thing about your books. I always go back to them. They never get old or boring. Thanks for sharing the newest page in your upcoming book. I look forward to buying it. You are just so down home – home spun….sending you love, hugs and sunshine or snow if you prefer.

  45. Connie B says:

    For some unknown reason I haven’t received your recent posts. I’m self taught at this computer world and thought I may have hit the wrong key somewhere. Anyway I started from square 1 and found your recent post on ” Girlfriends.” I enjoyed that so much as I have moved as you did from Mass. to Calif to Colo. and now Minnesota. Through all those years my best friend, Barbara, has remained true and loyal since the 4th grade. That was 1954 and we have never skipped a beat over all that time. Our phone conversations pick up where we left off and we giggle as we did when we were kids. Your ” Girlfriend Book ” is a great example of how we all feel about all our friendships over the years. I have my copy and have given other copies to special friends including my two daughters. Thanks so much for your friendship !

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Where in Minnesota, Connie? Hope you are finding lots of friends where you are now. We live in St. Paul now, which is where we lived before we spent 7 years in a small town in northern Minnesota. People are pretty friendly everywhere but the older I get, the more I notice it takes longer. Maybe it is just everyone’s busy lifestyles?

      • Connie B says:

        Hi Pat, I’m in Bloomington right near the ” Mall of America .” I’ve noticed that in Minnesota d/t cold/snow(?) neighbors don’t really see much of each other until the spring thaw. It’s like everyone comes out of hibernation. No excuses this year as our winter so far has been pretty mild. Maybe I should knock on wood !!

  46. Becky says:

    I also work at home and find it a challenge to make friends in a new town. It makes me feel a bit less weird that you felt the same way. Oh… my new town just happens to be Long Beach, a couple of miles from Park Street. Small world. Thanks for being so wonderful. : )

  47. Georgie says:

    Oh how precious! Oh how true! Oh how special are YOU!!!

    Thank-you! Even if you may live far away and are not just down the street, oh how close you are… right here today and every day I stop by to say hi!

    Thanks girlfriend!
    Georgie XO

  48. Juliana says:

    There is a spiritual connection between good friends. It seems just when I cannot stop thinking about one of my old friends, she will call. Although we may not have talked for months, we can continue a conversation like it never stopped. I have been blessed by many different types of girlfriends through the years, as others have said, and I do believe God puts them in your life just when you need them, also! My first GF’s though, were my four sisters. Not only teaching me so much, (being the youngest) but remaining so close. We make a point of spending a weekend together every year, even though we live in 5 different states. My heart and prayers goes out to those that lost their best friends. As I stopped to think about all this, I realized that it was one of my dearest friends that introduced me to you, with “Heart of the Home”. She passed away much too young, but I know she is always with me. And now I have girlfriends here, thanks to you Susan! I love every bit of it. So looking forward to the new book and all the new things you are so generous to give us!! Love and Hugs to you!!!

  49. Mecky says:

    It’s funny that I am reading this today. Early this morning, I was thinking of my best friend is Grade School and Jr High. We did everything together. I have had alot of good friends since, but I have to say that I don’t think I have ever had a friend as true as her.(other than my sisters). During high school, we stayed friends but not as close. I have not talked to her in several years. I was thinking that I truely need to look her up and see what she is up to. It’s kind of scarey, though. Will I even enjoy her company again? Will I be disappointed?
    Sisters are a wondeful thing. A true gift. I am blessed with 5 older sisters. One of those sisters is the one woman that I feel is a Kindred Spirit. Funny how we would fight when we were younger. I would get into her things. She was older and of course, I thought she was cool. I wanted to be like her. Guess what? I still do. She has a heart of gold and one of the kindest women one would ever know. Honestly, all of my sisters are very kind women and I truely trust and love them. I feel so blessed!

    I will have to find your book and read it. It sounds like something I would like!

    Blessings.

  50. Susan,
    Being married to a Navy man I’ve spent most of my married life MOVING( 27 times !) One good thing about moving I have made some amazing friends,some were in my life for a short time and some will remain forever!!!!!!!!

  51. Patricia from Philly says:

    Susan – the pink Minton creamers and teapot are in the Cockatrice pattern… lots on Ebay. Also for you girlfriends who are interested, there is also a rosebund salt and pepper set – just like Susans! – on there as well.

  52. maybaby says:

    I just got to spend the morning with one of me dearest girlfriends, we are both small business owners so it is hard to find time to just enjoy a breakfast together. But we did, and also had time for a little thrifting, and for talking about our dream of opening our own little business, together. Perhaps once we sell our other businesses, and our children are grown and gone! We must have our dreams to dream together, right?

  53. Janine from California says:

    PARK AVENUE LONG BEACH! I live right around the corner! Have you zillowed your old home lately? Bet it’s changed some!

    LOVED the song! That really made me laugh. Was not expecting a funny song! Thanks, as usual, for brightening my day!

    Janine (when you came to CA last year I came to both talks because my camera battery died and I HAD to get your picture!)

  54. Lee Ann G. says:

    Oh Yes! Girlfriends are a must!!! I have been so blessed with girlfriends. There is a group of 4 of us and we call ourselves the Ya Ya s. We meet once a month all together and have for over 8 years now. My hubby is always glad to see go to be with them, knowing me and the girls will cover all of our troubles and woes along with deep belly laughing and when I come home he knows he won’t have to listen and try to fix those troubles and woes for me. ha ha I love your little girlfriend book Susan. I have pondered over that book so many times. It is so special.

    ♥ Lee Ann

  55. Enikö says:

    Ha, ha, ha…you look the same, my dear, as you did at age seven…just without the bows in your hair!

  56. CATHERINE says:

    DEAR SUSAN
    I HAVE LEFT MANY COMMENTS SINCE DECEMBER, BUT HAVE YET TO SEE THEM WITH ALL THE OTHERS. I HOPE YOU RECIEVED MY WELL WISHES! GIRLFRIENDS ARE PRECIOUS. I HAVE YOUR BOOK, GIRLFRIENDS FOREVER, IT’S GREAT. MY BEST FRIEND WHO I STUCK BY THROUGH THICK AND THIN, JUST STOPPED BEING MY FRIEND ABOUT 15 YEARS AGO. MY FATHER HAD JUST DIED, AND I AM GOD-MOTHER TO HER DAUGHTER, WHOM I’VE NEVER SEEN, EXCEPT AT THE BAPTISIM. I HOPE THAT YOU DO PRINT THIS LETTER, BECAUSE I THINK IT’S VERY IMPORTANT FOR WOMEN TO KNOW HOW MUCH A BEST FRIEND MEANS. I HAVE THREE VERY CLOSE FRIENDS, WHOM I NEVER SEE, ONLY BECAUSE OF WHERE THEY LIVE. IT STILL HURTS, WHAT MY EX- FRIEND DID; I NEED TO ASK GIRLFRIENDS OUT THERE, IF YOU WERE I,WOULD YOU WRITE HER AND LET HER KNOW HOW SHE HAS HURT ME? MY MOM AND MY HUSBAND ARE MY BEST FRIENDS, BUT IT’S NOT THE SAME. WELL, HAPPY NEW YEAR, AND EVERYONE, CALL YOUR FRIEND AND TELL HER YOU LOVE HER.
    CATHERINE in VIRGINIA

    • sbranch says:

      I would write her and tell her how much you love and miss her.

      • CATHERINE says:

        DEAR SUSAN
        THANK YOU FOR ANSWERING. I AM GOING TO WRITE HER AND TELL HER I MISS HER, HOWEVER, I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR HER TO KNOW HOW MUCH SHE HAS HURT ME. I AM NOT GOING TO BE CRUEL, (NOT MY NATURE) BUT THIS HAS UPSET ME FOR YEARS. I DON’T THINK I MENTIONED SHE NEVER GAVE ME A REASON FOR DROPPING ME AS A FRIEND. THANK YOU FOR CARING.
        CATHERINE

  57. Donna Downey says:

    Susan, I Guess I am still learning about these blogs and computers, because I thought I had left a message before so please excuse if this duplicating anything. I love your birds. Living in Northern California the rain has finally
    returned to us and the birds are everywhere looking for food. Our family puts up a small outside Christmas tree with lights for the birds. We make bread hearts with peanut butter and seeds and fill hollowed out small oranges with seeds. They seem to love it and it is now one of our ongoing traditions. I love all of your pictures so the snow seems so appropriate for the season and helps us to be even closer. Thank you. Donna

  58. Anne Rowe says:

    Just finished reading the Jan. 25th blog…and love all the snow pics….but expecially love the “roaring” fire! How wonderful to watch, right after seeing the kitties sharing the sofa! When I am a spirit someday, I may loll around in your house as I feel I really belong there. I won’t bother anyone, but once in awhile you might catch a song in the air and a smell of English Devon violet wafting by as I happily drift through on my way to read in front of that fire! Love being one of your “girls”!

  59. MaryAnn Jones says:

    Susan,
    I only wish I new of you sooner. You so brighten up my day. I feel as if I am right there with you as you tell us of your ventures. It is like a little mini story, you have such a way with words to make us feel part of your story.
    Thank you, Thank you….a true “girlfriend” for life!!!!

  60. Kathy Clarke says:

    I love, love, love those little birdies! So glad you get to ‘git out with the girls!’
    I don’t know what I would do without my girlfirends as both of my sisters have passed away. They are the reason I have quilting classes and retreats–can’t seem to get enough!!

  61. Kay Groce says:

    Susan* You are welcome. I consider you a friend too! So, thank you for being a friend of mine 🙂

  62. Lynne Minisce Donalty says:

    Susan, I’ve been following your work for years now! I use your calendars throughout the year; and then save them for their artwork afterwards. I have each and every one of your books, except for the latest one. The pictures are an inspiration for gardening, decorating, and home organizing. Thank you! I love how centered you are around the home – that is so important. That is our “nest”, after all! I would be interested in being added to the drawing for the bird salt and pepper shakers. Again, thank you for all your inspiration!
    Lynne D.

  63. Denise Peter says:

    I’m behind in reading all the news in your blog. We’ve been busy laying travertine in our bedroom and bath this week. But what a wonderful surprise to see all the photos of snow covered Martha’s Vineyard. It makes me so homesick for Connecticut (where I live 6 months). And the birds feeding made my heart pang for all my feathered friends that I love to watch and care for up north. We don’t get many little ones here on Sanibel like we do in CT. Thanks so much for a reminder of the beauty of winter!!! Now what about those carmelized onions? What were they destined to become?

  64. Sue says:

    I love to set a different table every day right down to the placemats! What is it that is so special about pretty dishes? They hook me everytime I see them at thrift stores, antique shops. Often times a single piece (especially cake plates) and, once in a while, an entire set, call right out to me. I think about their days gone by and immediately start to think about how I’ll use them at the next special occasion. Love your blog. It’s so much fun to read. I always chuckle at how alike we must be. I thought I was the only one with a heart-shaped rock collection…S.

  65. Audrey Patterson says:

    All the comments from Jan. 24 have dissappered.
    Who knows?
    all the best anyway

  66. Donna says:

    Have fun getting your colors done. I think I need to do that! Sounds like a good girlfriend adventure.

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