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Lessons in Friendship From Grandma

My grandmother and her friends made each other a priority all of their lives.

Being a wife and mom­ – especially on the farm – means you put your own needs last more often than not. It’s easy to let friendships go once you get married and have kids, but I’ve worked hard to keep my friendships strong, inspired by my grandmother, Helen Foust (front and center in the photo here), and her friends.

When Grandma passed away, I was given a tote full of photographs, which I prize. Some of my favorites are in a small album marked “Coffee Girls.” These photos span her entire adult life, and they all feature the group here and pictured below, with additional friends in some pictures. 

I have always loved looking at these photos, even when I was a little girl. Grandma would point out her friends and tell me about their adventures. It’s extraordinary that this collection of dozens of photos that document their everyday lives even exists. I am so thankful.

The Coffee Girls supported each other as they became wives and mothers. They looked after each other’s kids. They held each other up when some lost children, and when parents and husbands died. 

A support system of friends is priceless, but it can be hard to achieve and even harder to maintain. I can imagine that in the 1930s, it was even harder. 

My grandma and her friends couldn’t group text to set up coffee dates like my friends and I do. They couldn’t hop online to book tickets for a girls’ weekend. They had to really work at their friendship and make it a priority. And they did.

Cherishing My Circle of Friends

My best friends from high school are scattered around the country. Now that our kids are a little older, we have made a commitment to spend at least one weekend a year together. Last fall, we rented a big house in Omaha and spent the whole weekend talking, laughing, cooking, and reconnecting. This year, we’re heading to Denver.

I have met most of my local friends because we have kids the same age. We have grown from moms sitting next to each other on the bleachers to true sisters who are there for each other no matter what. I value their friendship so much.

Someday, I hope to share stories and photos of my friends with my grandchildren. Maybe I’ll convince them to give me a ride to meet my girls for a cup of coffee.  

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