Pinky Pie

Book Group & Me

Posted on: October 9, 2009

The Book Club modeling some of the hats and scarves coming my way.

The book club, including baby Nora, modeling some of the hats and scarves coming my way.

One of the images permanently lodged in my brain is of leaving Maggie in Kansas City for her first job out of college. Let’s just say that she didn’t want us to go. And I didn’t want to leave her there.

We were sitting in Latteland in Kansas City, a coffee shop near where she lived. As the time for our leaving approached, Maggie and I avoided eye contact. Dick got up to go to the bathroom and when he returned, Maggie and I were both sobbing.

I didn’t cry like that when we took her to college or took her brother, Michael, to college. It didn’t seem as permanent as taking Maggie to Kansas City. Of course, going somewhere for a first job didn’t necessarily mean permanency, but it sure felt that way.

It was not easy that first year for Maggie in Kansas City, but then she began developing family. She re-met Mike, who she first knew as an eighth grader one weekend at a youth group event in Minneapolis. Even before she married Mike in 2008, she was enveloped into his wonderful family.

In the meantime, she was making friends, equally wonderful folks who became like family, as they proved Wednesday night. They went to Maggie’s house, where she was the hostess for a home jewelry party. It was one of those events where you invite your friends, provide snacks and wine and then they order stuff – but only if they want it.

Maggie was puzzled when many of the women – members of her book club – handed her pink bags as they arrived. She took the bags and put them down at first, not sure what she was supposed to do with them.

Soon she realized they were for her and discovered inside those bags were hats and scarves for me plus cards for her and some for me. I have never met most of these women, but they had reached out to me via my wonderful daughter. And they had reached out to Maggie via me.

They have also organized to walk for Pinky Pie in the American Cancer Society’s 2009 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Kansas City event on October 24. They set up a Pinky Pie team at

Maggie told me she was just overwhelmed in such a beautiful way. At that moment she was enveloped in love and support – as her group of friends and family have given her since my diagnosis and even before. I don’t know how to thank these women except to tell a story that I once heard from a friend who used to live in La Crosse.

There was an old man, who had spent his life as a migrant worker, picking whatever crop needed harvesting. He clearly had slowed down and was endanger of being thrown off a farm where he was picking peas.

Another worker came up and nudged the older man. “These are for you,” he said, handing him a hat full of peas.

“But how will I ever repay you?” the older man asked.

“You don’t. Just pick a hat of peas for someone else.”

How incredible is it that the story was about a hat of peas when I’m writing about the kindness of so many women towards me – and towards my daughter in the form of hats and scarves.

Thank you to all of you in the book group and elsewhere who have been so supportive to my family and me. Clearly, I can’t possibly pay back these women or the many others who have called, brought meals, sent pink items.

But let me assure you, I will fill many hats in my life and pass them on.

And, let me add, it really was OK leaving Maggie in Latteland back in 2003.


10 Responses to "Book Group & Me"

What a great group of ladies! I’m partial to scarves, but hats kind of bug me. Good post.

You and Maggie are both blessed with many friends because you have both “filled your hats and passed them on” many times.

We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends. Thank you book club girls! You are all amazing.
Love you, Mummers!

Wow! And double wow!

How cool are Maggies’ pals ? Awesome

Pinky!!! I saw you on NOW!!!! You go gurl!!! It was great to see you and hear you. You look good.

We’re all rooting for you.


You touch my heart in so many ways………even though you beat me in scrabble.

Dearest Ones….Just watched NOW online and discovered you and Dick…..surprise does not begin to describe my emotions….Thank you once again for sharing yourselves and touching our lives. My heart is always with you….am here in Dallas with grandson care. Will call you if I can find your number online…otherwise..will call when I return Oct. 18th….Is it true there is snow on the ground in La Crosse?

hey my dear friends at the Hessel-Mial home. So glad I could be part of the hair removal day and photo shoot. You are an amazing person Sue and so is your helper husband Dick , you have always been a great team and I am thankful to be in your world.

hi sue! i’m a friend of maggie’s from book club. i was super sad to miss this night. it was so fun to read the emails going around planning it. everyone ws so excited to be a part of it. thanks for the great daughter you have. she’s a sweet friend. i enjoy reading your blog. you’re a great writer and i appreciate your openness and vulnerability in your writing. you are in my thoughts and prayers!
oy freakin’ vey! i love your hair pics too.

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