Since I'm writing my memoir, it made perfect sense to host Lois Roelofs, whose own memoir, Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor's Journey of Faith and Self, was recently published by Deep River Books.
Lois was kind enough to not only provide me with an e-book, but with a snail-mailed copy, too. I'll be posting my review of it next Wednesday, April 11th, and will remind everyone a few days before then. I'm a little over half-way through it and I will say this much. I Love It! Lois writes so well and has an easy going style. I immediately became part of her story, as if I was one of her best friends. It's one of those books I read and read until the page becomes a blurry mess and I have to stop for awhile. I can't wait to finish it, yet I think I'll be sad then, too, because it will be over...you know?
Below is Lois' guest post, which she wrote specifically for today.
Hot Fudge Friends
by Lois Roelofs
In the seventies, my new friend Marianna and I abandoned our suburban sandbox lives to become urban graduate students at the University of Illinois. Every Friday, having survived the week, we celebrated at Marshall Field’s on State Street. Loving hot fudge, we’d order Frango Mint sundaes at the Crystal Palace, then glance at our tired but happy faces in the mirrored walls of the old-fashioned ice cream parlor.
As we rehashed life in the era of Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique, our sundaes would melt into a mudslide of our newly feminist desires to plant our children in traffic, tie our husbands’ necks in ropes, and resume our nursing careers.
We became Hot Fudge Friends—ones who understood that neither of us really wanted to murder our families and return to nursing full time. Soon after graduation, Marianna moved away. Hot fudge sundaes stopped soothing my soul.
Women who lose their Hot Fudge Friend can eat their sundaes alone. But without the sharing, the hot fudge and ice cream simply feel like calories racing to the hips.
A perfect day for separated Hot Fudge Friends has become annual visits. For over thirty years, we’ve had meet-ups at her home or mine. On my visits to her, we’ve visited Eleanor Roosevelt’s sculpture in Washington, D.C. and, after another move, Rodin’s The Thinker at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
When Marianna visits me, we traipse our old haunts in Chicago, no more Marshall Field’s, no more Crystal Palace, but we can still find hot fudge sundaes at Peterson’s Ice Cream, near her former home in Oak Park and close to Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie-style home.
We’ve also had meet-ups in other cities. We’ve flown to St. Petersburg Beach and bombed on our first attempt at karaoke, she on Leroy Brown and I on Love Can Build a Bridge. We’ve flown to New York City and stood silently together at Ground Zero. And we’ve flown to Atlanta and listened on tape to Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech in Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Each meet-up Marianna and I hunt for hot fudge sundaes. Smooth silken hot fudge, topped with a mountain of whipped cream, the cherry, and a sprinkling of nuts. We reminisce, sharing the food of soul mates: parents’ deaths, husbands’ long-time support of our friendship, children’s’ successes, grandchildren’s brilliance. Careers ending, her breast cancer, my husband’s prostate cancer. Our aging, our writing, our blogging. Our exciting futures.
Marianna, my Hot Fudge Friend, nourishes my soul.
Thank you for writing such a beautiful story for us! Lois is also generously providing a copy of her book for a give-away, too. To be eligible, all that is required is to leave a comment or question for Lois here. That's it. No other fancy schmancy rules. BUT, if you also come back on the 11th and do the same thing on that post, you'll be entered twice.
** And those of you who Tweet, please help let others know about it, too! Use the hastag #Caring Lessons.
“Perhaps it seems odd that a casual meeting on the street could have brought about such change. But sometimes life is like that, isn't it?” -- Arthur Golden