Thursday, March 4, 2010


My grandmother used to say that "pearls bring tears." I never thought much about it, but I recently looked up the legend that gives rise to the saying. I won't get into it here, but if you are interested, you can find it here.

I adore my pearls...the gifts my husband has given me over the years. But the very first real pearls I ever received came from Japan and from a naval officer who responded to my request for earrings. I still have them, although I almost always wear the Tiffany earrings my husband gave me a few years ago. For one special occasion, I asked for a single strand choker. If pearls bring tears, I rejoice in having tears of joy in my life.

What brings me to this topic is the response that I have been getting from readers of My First Best Friend. When one writes, one has only a glimmer of how the words will affect others. The same is true for many art forms. I just wept while watching the film Julie and Julia. Why, you ask? What was there about that film that prompted tears? When Julia receives the first copy of her Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I remembered getting my copy of that very same book when I was first married. The emotion, totally unexpected, just came over me. A gentleman leaving the theater with his wife asked me why I was crying. I launched into my story. "Do you still have the book," he inquired. More tears--"You bet I do and I even remember the stains on some of the pages!"

Hearing from several women in the book, and from a few readers, I realize there have been "pearls." That is, moments of remembering that have brought a flood of tears. One pearl I treasure is the report I got from my first best friend. The book is dedicated to her and it was sent as a present for her birthday this past weekend. (That was good timing, as the official publication date of the book is March 1.) The touching moment in my friend's experience was the fact that I had remembered her brother, in my words. Not have Robert as part of our childhood? Unthinkable.

I also want to respond to several comments here about the sadness that thinking back may bring. Again, I never wanted to make anyone sad. But it is, after all, unavoidable in any recounting of lives, isn't it? Difficult things happen; loss is almost unbearable. I never intended to inspire tears--but hopefully, in the main, they are jewels that honor precious memories. In the section of MFBF called Paths, I write this: "Not all first best friends are destined to travel along together." Friendships can be fragile and have their time and place. But that doesn't mean that the memories aren't pearls, even if they bring tears. Wear them proudly...for the friendship you had when learning how to love was so very important.

PS - Just in, this announcement featuring turquoise jewelry from Gumps in San Francisco. I love the a color very close to the cover of MY FIRST BEST FRIEND! (Turquoise is also my birthstone.)


  1. Its true that not all First Best Friends are meant to travel together throughout a whole lifetime, but the memories of good times spent are pearls I wear appreciatively of those first connections.

    Last week I ordered two copies of your book and am waiting for them to arrive. One will go to my most Longtime Best Friend who I've walked over 30 years of life with, the other I will treasure for myself. ~Vicki

  2. It's my secret hope (well, apparently not THAT secret) that my first best friend, Laurie-Anne, will find the book somehow, read it, and contact me. We've been apart lo, these many years, and wouldn't it be wonderful if she recognized her younger self and me, her pal, Karen, on the front cover of the book? If that happens, Nancy, you'll be the FIRST to know! Thanks for such a lovely, thoughtful post, and for the chance to read other women's stories about the friends who remain, if not in their lives, at least in their memories.
    As for pearls...I love them and wear them oftener than not! Today, they join some gold chains in a sort of quasi-Chanel homage around my neck.
    Love, Karen Marline

  3. Well, I think I understand about pearls and tears. I actually did a blog post in September of last year titled Things Remembered in which I shared about my three sets of "real" pearls and the emotions associated with each one. Incidentally, I also posted about Victoria and your (then fairly new) blog in that same post. My latest "pearl moment" came earlier this week when I received a birthday package from my daddy. Last year I had mentioned to him that I was just a few Victorias shy of having a complete collection. I had really forgotten that I told him which ones I needed. Well, he managed to find one of the ones I was missing and sent it to me. It was such a thoughtful gift from him (he's a real man's man, sportsman, bachelor, etc. and totally not into women's magazines.) So, I know that he put some thought and effort into finding it. It was very touching, as he normally just sends a card with a check enclosed. It was a very "pearl moment" for me, and I am not easily given to tears.


  4. Dear Nancy, Once again, you have given us some touching and very thought-provoking words. I treasure my pearl necklace which my father gave Mom for their 25th anniversary. It seems when I wear them, I feel calm and serene. Any tears associated with my treasure are happy tears such as my daughter glowing on her wedding day with the pearls as perfect accent.

    Today I called "my first best friend" to wish her a happy 72nd birthday. We talked over the 750 miles separating us for about an hour. In ten days I will celebrate my 72nd birthday. Our conversation was sprinkled with the humor and love that has always held us together. We laugh because we are one of the "odd" couples. She is the total humorist and regales me with one situation after another about her now rural Florida life. She says I have always been the serious bookworm, but we can read each other's thoughts and finish sentences.

    Our elementary school friendship has progessed through high school, she living all over the country and me staying in our home town, but
    we have never felt apart. A few months may pass inbetween visitis, but we take off right where we left off.

    We did all the girly things when younger, but we have been there for each other. I was there in high school the day they told her that her father was killed in an accident. Her mother fell apart so my home and parents became hers many nights. Recently I was with her when we spread her mother's ashes over the lake she loved. Our friendship is one as deep as any sisters' bonds. I don't think words can begin to describe the love and admiration we have for each other. No one but Bev could get me to wear a quirky hat to our 50th class reunion so we "show our own style." We have shared children, grandchildren, millions of laughs, some tears, and as she stated, "we have to keep our husbands on their toes" for a long time.

    I have ordered two of your wonderful books, one for each of us, so we can share the stories with each other. Jean

  5. You are also a pearl that brings joy to so many of us. My first pearls was a choker given to me when my husband and I became engaged. I really should wear them more often. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Lovely post. Though I've lost touch with some of my childhood friends, I treasure the lessons I've learned from them, sometimes in retrospect. Those early friendships have influenced the friendships I forged later in life too. I was just thinking about this last week -- that there's a certain type of friend I'm attracted to. That "type" is, in many ways, an "echo" of my first best friend.

  7. Hi Nancy-To be honest,as a child I never really had a "best friend",as we moved and traveled a lot thru my entire childhood,.{My Father was a Pilot.}-I married very young & had children.-I was so busy with the Boys and living pretty secluded on a Ranch in North Dakota. I really don't recall anyone I could call a "Best Friend",-lots of different& wonderful aquantances,yes & close to a few-but really stuck mainly with relatives & my Mother.-She truly was my only"first & best friend, my entire colorful life.It seems too,I have often said that" my books, are my best friends" or my Pets."-lol.- I did have a very close friend my age for all of my Adult life,- but, five years back, she passed away too. - So,- if it weren't for your beautiful Victoria magazine., I would not have even met two of the very special friends I have now- We met online in a Victoria group., & have formed a very strong bond.--You see, your magazine has done this for me , and so much more!-Love,valery

  8. Hi Nancy, you always know how to touch peoples hearts in just the right way. You have that special ability and I thank you for it. I can't wait to read My First Best Friend. Although I have not stayed in touch with my first best friend, I will never forget the times we had together. I even remember the gift she gave me for my 7th birthday and I am 51! Somethings never leave us. The memories of her are so vivid it seems like yesterday. Love, from one of your very old friends from the Victoria days.

  9. Nancy,

    Reading your blog is almost like having Victoria back!

    Thank you.

  10. Nancy- is there a way I could purchase one of these books, signed by you, I don't live close to where you are signing them--It would be so wonderful to have one with your actual handwriting in it!-xo-Valery