This is one big reason I love my job. The wonderful letters I get! I pin them up on the door of my studio so I’m reminded all the time of why I’m here.
Every letter is important; some of them make me cry; some are short and sweet; some come with family recipes; there are drawings and paintings; many have stickers; almost all are hand-written; they come with photos; some have poems; all are keepers.
I get letters from all over the country, big and little towns; plus girlfriends in Japan, South America, Canada, New Zealand and Europe. Letters so full of goodness that, despite our troubles, give me total faith in the world. But the ones I treasure the most are from children. ♥
These are a few of the letters . . . Kids say the best things…
A few months ago I received a large envelope with four letters in it, from four girls who are best friends.
Two of them are ten years old and two of them are twelve; they’re in the fifth and sixth grades; two of them are sisters. They were writing to tell me they’re starting a club called the Daring Girls Club. I couldn’t have chosen a better name for it myself! One of their moms must have given them one of my books because they decided I should be their “role model” and told me they’d be reading from my book at every meeting. (See me die of joy.) The Daring Girls Club, they wrote, is “about saving the earth, art, and gardening.” I feel like a teacher, like Robin Williams says in Dead Poet’s Society, “Carpe diem, seize the day boys (girls), make your lives extraordinary!” I wrote them back and thanked them, and today this came in the mail.
This long wonderful handwritten banner … My cup runneth over. It’s got quotes on it from my Girlfriends Book; they wrote to tell me they’re hosting a “Pink of Perfection Party” like the one I talk about on p. 29 of Girlfriends Forever, using that menu with all pink food.
D.A.R.I.N.G. as Mikayla wrote, stands for Definitely awesome, Amazing, Really fun, Indestructible, Never give up, and Girly!
Maybe you need a pink food menu? Maybe you are feeling girly and daring? Maybe you want to save the earth? Is that so much to ask?
Maybe pink perfection is not enough all by itself to save the earth, but if it stands for Never giving up, love, friendship, creativity, courage, and hope, then it can’t hurt! ♥
Bet they are just going to die when they see themselves on your blog. Hi, girls!!
I just love that age. I taught fourth and fifth graders for 40 years and never tired of their ingenuity, creativity, and hope. What a fun career I had.
I think everyone has an age for life, mine is definitely twelve! I love that age too…Joe and I took our eleven-year-old and twelve-year-old nieces on a trip to Europe on the QEII one time; we started planning when the girls were five and six! It was a dream come true — especially for me! I never had more fun in my life. One whole suitcase was just art stuff. We all read our books in sidewalk cafes. I’m sure you made a huge difference in the lives of so many girls, loving it as much as you do, had to have rubbed off on them!
Susan, loving the blog! This one brought tears to my eyes thinking of my nieces and a girl’s desire to “make” a club.
And make a difference . . . wonderful.
Sweet – hope abounds!
D.A.R.I.N.G.~ D~efinitely awesome A~mazing R~eally fun I~ndestructible N~Ever give up & G~irly….Oh Sweet♥Sue….Pure Pink Perfection….:-) I Think All “Your Girlies” Young & Older…”Us”…. Need to Have a “Virtual” “Pink of Perfection Party”…wouldn’t that Be a Fabulous Fun Time Online??? (Yesss!!) “Live”…& We all Wear Something Pink & Eat Something Pink & Sip on Something Pink…We will All Be Pretty in Pink! 🙂 in fact I’m gonna go get some Pink Raspberry Sherbert…& Think Pink the Rest of The Day Thanks Sweet Sue…Ya Know…. Girlfriends are truly Forever! Yay! Twirling into Pink! xoxo Poof!(Pink Fairy~Dust Everywhere!)♫♥♫♥♫♥
That’s just awesome! Really.
Dear Susan and girls:
As much as I love the “Willards” this new blog has far exceeded my expectations. I no longer have to wait for the monthly updates but can find inspiration nearly every day. Because of you, I have made it a practice to send handwritten snail mail (letters or notes) sometimes decorated with my “art” or stickers. Recently I sent a note to an old friend from my childhood who I keep in touch with infrequently. Unexpectedly, I received a phone call to thank me for the note, saying that it was probably the nicest thing that anyone had ever done for him. WOW! What a blessing that you are passing down your many gifts to the younger generation. I am thrilled to see these girls taking up the banner in their own way. Thank you for all you do ~ and you DO make a difference!
Oh, to be that age – so much ahead of them and at that age they are on the brink of purely becoming. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful group to us. Judy C in NC
Susan! What an impact you have on women of all ages. This is so, so awesome! They will never forget this, never. I too want to say “HI D.A.R.I.N.G Girls Club!!”
I have a 12 year old daughter, and teach 6/7th graders. Girls that age are amazing! I love that you have inspired their club.
Just about the time when I think your blog couldn’t get any better, sweeter, finer, more wonderful – it does! I have a giant, big lump in my throat & am blinking reallllllllly fast! Your Girlfriends & Jr. Girlfriends are truly amazing! ♥
Oh Susan…you have just got to be busting with excitement!! The “Daring Girls Club” what an amazing group of young girls…taking lessons from you!! We love to do this all the time, just never thought to create a group like this:) How about us being the ‘Darling Gals Club’….smile…
Bless you sweet lady…. Enjoy all of this ‘sweetness’ you deserve it!!
I am! Love them! And we already are the Darling Gals Club!
Yes Susan..WE ARE …WE ARE !
Amen! xoxo Poof!♫♥
LOVE your blog and books and artwork and adventures, and, most especially, how you have brought it all to the internet! All the handmade loveliness from the books shines through, so much more lovely than anything else in cyberspace! You have been my inspiration through thick and thin, and Girlfriends Forever is the epitome of my life! I love you Susan Branch! These darling little girls will be great friends forever, and how great to have you as an inspiration. You’re in the zone, girl! Doing what you are meant to do. And I, for one, am profoundly grateful.
Thank you so much, so happy we share the same zone!
ps, if you & Joe plan another cruise, I’m up for adoption! =)
pps, I hope the DARING girls are familiar with Funny Face (my all time favoritest movie), especially the Think Pink number! It could be their theme song!
I sent them all the travel-by-boat movies, and all the Audrey Hepburn, Paris, Rome, I could during the time we waited to go…:-) Waking up imagination! When they call they still say “‘Ello Bebe!”
How darling of them and how spunky, too. They are well on their way to DARING
Oh how sweet is this…The Daring Girls club…I think that will be a sweet thing for young girls 🙂 🙂 I loved seeing the photos of all the letters people send you…especially the ones from young children. Those are the sweetest and the best 🙂 🙂 🙂 I like that pink menu. Are the recipes available on-line, too?
Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather 🙂 🙂 🙂
These girls sound like very smart young ladies to choose you as their role model! I have two young girls (5 and 6) and they love your books too! When I sit on the couch and look through your books, they sit next to me and look at the pages with me. My 5 year old especially loves your Summer Book, specifically the page with the little ladybugs around the border. My 6 year old reads along wtih me and helps me decide which recipes to try.
You just made my day! ♥
Oh, I LOVED this posting. How wonderful to pick you for their role model! If we weren’t almost the same age, I’d pick you for my OWN role model! LOL 🙂
I worked as a children’s librarian for several years in a small town and I absolutely loved the letters I would get from the children after a visit–I kept them for years…One never knows what seeds are planted in young minds and how much of an influence one can turn out to be…
Oh, my gosh!!! How wonderful is all of this…your blog post…these young ladies…and then all the comments from appreciative people!! Love it ALL!
Thank you for YOU!!!
Thank you for sharing such a wonderful glimpse of your fan mail! What a creative group of girls to assemble such a fun – and pink – club! Who better to role model than you? One of your best blog posts to date 🙂 We love you!!!
This blog is just so much fun. I need a little fun.
Love & Hugs,
Sheryl from Northern CA
Susan, I so enjoy all of the wonderful women who come here to visit and also visit on your Facebook page F.O.S.B.. I would love it if you could somehow have a chat room attached to your blog so those of us that come on would be able to click into the room and actually chat with the other members of you girls club. ~ Doreen ~
Your heart must have wanted to explode with happiness when you received the wonderful letter from those adorable girls. How clever of them to form a Daring Girls Club. Love the acronym DARING and think they are very smart to choose you for their role model. Enjoy the love, you deserve it because you send so much love into the world. We are blessed to be able to share the love with one another through snail mail and the internet.xoxo
Hey Sandy…Pure magic! xoxo Poof!♫♥
One never knows what influence we may have on those whom we encounter through our lives, but you know for sure at this point the effect you have had on a group of “Daring Girls.” Amazing! I think we should all have a “Pink” day!
A Pink Day for al of us would be wonderful! 🙂
Oh my goodness, Susan, you may have started a whole new trend! These young ladies are the future. This is so inspiring and enriching for these girls and others who may follow them. As Lin said…”hope abounds”.
It’s so wonderful to see this happening. Your band is expanding exponentially 🙂 !!!
What a wonderful honor for you, and a wonderful way for these adorable sounding girls to have a fun summer learning new things and having fun! Do I see a future book about this, Susan? It is a DARING idea 🙂
Dear Susan…can you even imagine how excited these girls must be! This will be the best memory of their summer of 2011…!!! It is really so wonderful of you to make yourself so accessible to the people who love you and your work…this blog is over the top wonderful!! Thank you xx
I just know they are giggling and pee’n their pants, reading this. :)))
How cool for YOU…how cool for THEM.
Oh, to be twelve again. It would be like Angel tears dipped in happiness! What a great way to end the day reading your blog. Thanks for sharing. You go, Girl.
I have loved your books for many years. I am so very excited to read your blog. It is delightful here. Thank you for all the inspiration that you have been and are!!!
Age 12 is an ice cream sundae with extra hot fudge and no where to be except in your imagination. I hope the “Daring Girls” will provide frequent updates! Best idea I have heard in a long time!
Hey Daring Girls – I think there is still time to plant a garden clubhouse – wooden poles, morning glories, sunflowers – unless of course you aready have one!
These girls brought tears to my eyes! What a wonderful bunch! Susan, you are such an inspiration and it makes me so happy to see these young girls look up to you! Have a super great day!
Dear Susan thanks so much for letting me see MV . It has been a long while since I have been there. My cousin owns a house there,that was always open for guests! We shared many memories there. Lynne was always planning something. Days at the beach ,trips to the carosel and bandstand. Making fairy visits come true for her grandchildren. That island is really magical. Lynne passed away after a very short illness, and I have not been back to MV since,but reading Willard and your blog brings it a little closer. Thank you so much for filling that corner of my heart with some joy.
How super great and humbleyyyy proud that must make you feel. 🙂
I do so love little girls….taught them for years at my dancing school and they never ceased to amaze me with their talent and creativity. Missing teaching and interacting with them…
How wonderful is this!!!! I bet you are so proud of them and yourself, too. What a super duper role model they picked!!!! woot! GIRL POWER!!! : )
Love this! I read your post last night as I was going to bed, and I can’t stop thinking about it. You’re a wonderful role model for young (and not-so-young!) girls, and goodness knows, they need every good influence possible as they grow up in a culture that seems more like a minefield of bad influences than the nurturing place they deserve. I wonder if you’re thinking what I’m thinking? That you could write an amazing book for these girls. That you’re the PERFECT person to do it. I would love for my granddaughters to have you as a role model, and they will whether you write a girl’s book or not, because I’ll make sure of it … but Kat and Penny are 6 and 3 … there’s time 🙂
I second that Janie! Never had girls but I love girly things and think Sue would write an amazing book for the tweens!
Janie, you write so eloquently, and what a great idea. Susan should most definitely use these girls as inspiration for new projects – bet there are lots of daring girls out there.
I LOVED reading about the Daring Girls! How wonderful that these girls have found such a creative, positive way to spend their time together and nurture their friendships. These are memories that will last a lifetime. And how excited I can see that you are to be a part of it all! I wish there had been someone like you when I was growing up with my two neighborhood BFFs because we did lots of fun things but NEVER to the extent of these girls. Would have been fun to have had a role model like you to look to for inspiration. (You can do anything….can you find a time machine so we can go back to that 12 year old age again?) You are a blessing.
So wonderful – wasn’t sure that anyone really HAS a childhood anymore. These darling girls must have darling parents to inspire them, too! I was almost crying tears of happiness imagining the magic summer of 2011. What fun and how nice of them to share it with you, and in turn, for you to share it with us.
I absolutely would have loved having your books when I was their age.
I bet when they see this post, they squeal with delight!
They have picked a most excellent role model!
Who will these girls grow up to be? One thing is for certain: they are giving me hope for the future!
You bring out the good in so many people, Sue.
Wow! What an amazing bunch of girls! My little one is 5 1/2 and we have been trying to decide whether to join Girl Scouts or 4 H….I like this club…where do we sign up? So cute!!! Susan you are inspiring and amazing! We have your books all over the house, they brighten our day! Thank you for all you do!!! Have fun girls!!!!
THANK YOU everybody for your generous comments i am glad to see that most of you have little girls to…encourage them to start a daring girls club
Susan, this must be right up there with all the accolades you’ve received over the years. Like others the story of these girls brought tears to my eyes, what a wonderful age to be? “Go girl power!” And long may girls of all ages be enthralled with the message that is the world of Susan Branch.
Love these girls! So heart warming to see them doing something so …….wholesome..and having a role model who isn’t on the Disney channel !! 🙂 When I was their age my role model was..Norman Rockwell..(!) One of my fondest memories is going to his museum and when I walked in and saw a REAL painting that HE painted with HIS hands I thought I was going to faint. None of my friends quite ‘got’ my infatuation with him (and his artwork) and I always wished I could send him fan mail – Years later I found the “Heart of The Home” cookbook and felt as though I met a kindred spirit –you inspire me so..and I KNOW how excited those girls must be to get a letter from you and see themselves on this blog- I wrote you a letter back in 1995 and you wrote back to me and sent me two bookplates (one of which I (of course) put in my Heart of The Home cookbook, and the other in the Summer book because you wrote me in August) Your letter is something I will treasure forever- and it is tucked inside The Summer Book. 🙂 “It is the sweet simple things of life, which are the real ones afterall” (Laura Ingalls Wilder) Whenever I think of that quote, I think of how you have touched so many lives including my own.. Kudos to all DARING girls around the world (and yes, I think of myself as a girl and probably always will!)
Love Love Love your blog! Just read all of the new posts. I remember being so thrilled when the latest Willard arrived in the mail. You just make me happy 🙂
You are so inspiring, Susan! I love your calendars and honestly, am like a little school girl when I see it on my Mom’s table right before Christmas when she gives it to me! I look through it with coffee alone, and then get back into the swing of things with more pep in my step. And, with each new month, I take a few minutes and read each new month’s page to relish in imagination and love.
I love that these girls are so daring to also write to you. I love it that you write back and that you love on them. All girls (young and not-so-young-in-number) need more women in their lives to encourage them for their art and talents! YAH!!! Love and hugs to you, and thank you for being a little slice of heaven on the internet. Now I’m going to go make something. : )
Just wondering if you have a public “central” snail-mail address where things sent will reach you. (knowing that you spend time in the east and in the west)
Everything reaches me….my snail mail is PO Box 2416 Vineyard Haven MA 02568. It reaches me, the question is, how long until anyone hears back, this is the problem!
hi everybody i’m mikayla from the D.G.C (the daring girls club) and i cant beleive that susan branch wrote about us on her website i almost cried tears of happiness. i am staring at your guys’ comments and i my mouth is wide open. im really happy everyone had good things to say. we arent known very well but we do intend on getting as known as girl scouts 🙂 you can check out more at our blog!
Hi Mikayla! So happy to see you here! Everyone loved you guys! It was so fun to get your letters and the banner! Thank you! Keep us up to date on how your Pink of Perfection party goes, glad to see you have a blog. Say hi to the other DG’s . . . Love and xxx’s, Susan btw, tell your mom I said hello too, she must be pretty wonderful.
i love my mom she is pretty awesome i will pass on the message how are you doing how has your summer been?
Busy! I’m writing two books at once! Eating every day, too much, because one of them is a cookbook so I am testing recipes! Not telling too many people, want it to be a surprise. 🙂
hee hee that really cool i hhave always wanted to write a book
we have been so busy. marin payton and i are on the dixon dolphins swim team so we havent had alot of time to plan the pink party.
my mom says thank you and i showed the books and cards to all my friends at my moms summer camp they think its so cool!
where were you traveling?
I was out in California for March and April, seeing my mom, talking to quilt groups.
cool i thought you lived in CA?
A little bit, but most of the time I’m on an island called Martha’s Vineyard. Mikayla, I want to visit with you, but I have a girlfriend who lives in England, she’s on a different time zone than we are, it’s almost 10 pm where she is, and I’m supposed to call her soon. So I’ll write more later! xoxo
how has your summer been? (tell me if your busy i will leave you alone)
that island sounds really neat i hope you have a good chat with your friend tell her i say hi and any time im bothering you just tell my feelings will not be hurt:)
You would love it here! I had a wonderful visit with my friend…we were on the phone for 2 hours catching up with each other. You will never bother me. Have a great weekend!
uno more thing… if you could please spread the word about our club i hope other girls can enjoy making a daring girls club like we did
we are very familiar with funny face infact it is one of my favorite movies! more really girly movies we enjoy are:
devil wear prada (i love when they go to france)
julie and julia
haha guess what i forgot to tell you… marin and payton are sisters and me and katrina are sisters. me and marin are twelve and payton and katrina are 11
Oh I knew you and Katrina were sisters, but didn’t know that Payton and Marin are too…that makes it even better. I have never had anyone write anything about me that was 100% correct; when I was writing about you, I was thinking, I wonder how much of this I have wrong!
hmmmmmm… idont know you pretty much have evrything covered!:)
oh my gosh ahhhhhhhhhhh im screaming inside , because if i acctually scream i will probably scare everyone, OUR CLUB IS ON SUSAN BRANCHES BLOG AHHH IM SO AMAZED 🙂 OH BTW im katrina from the daring girls club ive always wanted to see you in person, Susan Branch, but i can live with just emailing u and sending letters to u OH and btw our club and you we should be pen pals. well,got to go write to us unless we write to you first :):):):):):)
Hi u probably wont even get this because this was such a long time ago but please visit our website daringgirlsclub.squarespace.com thank you
oh hahahaha fyi this is marin from the daring girls club hee hee
There she is! Still laughing!