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COVER STORY | Notes of Friendship, Local Women Share


"HOLD A TRUE FRIEND WITH BOTH YOUR HANDS" –Nigerian Proverb

These west suburban women each share a friendship so special and a bond so beautiful. True friendship is a treasure that is so valuable to the heart, mind and spirit. The beauty of it should be celebrated always. Enjoy these heartwarming stories of friendships built on love, laughter and loyalty.

Suzanne Fallon and Jennifer Holloway NAPERVILLE– Hailing from Massachusetts and England and having met six years ago through a Naperville Moms Network playdate, Suzanne and Jennifer sum up their relationship with a quote from Shanna Rodriguez, ‘the great thing about new friends is that they bring energy to your soul’.

Their friendship makes them feel like giggling teenagers. They have celebrated many milestones together from having babies, Jennifer’s 30th, Suzanne’s 40th, and the true test of friendship, living together with their husbands and five kids, Suzie (7), Stanley (5), Sam (4), Charlotte (6), and Abigail (7) while Suzanne’s family waited for their new home to close.

“Living under the same roof for a week was so much fun and I remember we ate so much froyo and drank a lot of wine,” Jennifer laughs. “Not a minute goes by without her making me laugh, cry or even get crazy.”

Strangely enough, the two besties are different in so many ways – Jennifer’s a tall, tea drinking introvert, and Suzanne is a short, coffee drinking, social butterfly; yet, they cheer each other on in life and consider each their spirit sister.

In Naperville, they love to hang out at the CUBE at Standard Market, Egg Harbor, Starbucks, and especially Hollywood Palms since its dark and no one can see them in their comfy mom clothes. When the kids grow up, they look forward to traveling to the tropics together and relaxing on the beach! Photo taken at Standard Market in Naperville. Suzanne is pictured on the left, Jennifer on the right.

Patty Wardlow and Wendy Balk DOWNERS GROVE/WOODRIDGE–The 38 year friendship between Patty and Wendy dates all the way back to kindergarten at Meadowview School in Woodridge. The girls went to the same schools together for next twelve years, and stuck by each other’s sides no matter what – like going AWOL at the nearby girl scout camp in elementary school, climbing the fence and dragging their gear home in the middle of the night. “No bugs or latrines for us,” Patty says. “It was totally my idea, but Wendy was a true friend to come with me!”

Wendy recalls the same loyalty from Patty during an outdoor education trip in the fifth grade. “I was scared to do the horse riding activity, so Patty sat out and did something else with me so I wouldn't be alone.”

They describe each other as strong and loyal, giving and selfless, agreeing they are not sisters by blood; but, most certainly sisters by heart, remaining Besties through every stage of life. Although life keeps them busy with travel sports and full time jobs, they enjoy getting together to catch up with a girl’s night at home or boating and skiing at their lake houses in the summer. They also enjoy a night out at Emmett's or the Cellar Door in downtown Downers Grove.

As soon as life slowdowns, they foresee a group of their longtime friends building small houses, somewhere warm, in their own mini subdivision called "Bestie Row". Photo taken at the Emmett’s in Downers Grove. Wendy is pictured on the left, Patty on the right.

MaryCarol Arazan, Mellissa DiCarlo & Kristin Anderson

WHEATON–This Bestie Trio is perfectly described in JK Rowling’s, Harry Potter, “Why is it that whenever anything happens, it’s always you three?”

Mary Carol, Mellissa, and Kristin have 8 children between them, so their idea of fun can be as simple as a five minute adult conversation without interruption walking the kids to and from school. They all agree that Kristin can also throw some amazing lavish parties, but they most enjoy the simple pleasures of unplanned warm, summer nights sitting in the backyard until the wee hours, sipping kiddie cocktails, and hashing through life together. “It’s so nice having someone to talk to when the going gets tough; and someone to celebrate the good times with as well,” Mary Carol says. “We’re all going through this crazy mom thing together and supporting each other.”

The past four years has reminded them that a friend is God's way of proving he doesn't want us to walk alone. “God places people in your life with perfect timing,” Mellissa says. “How comforting it is to know there’s someone out there in this big world, who cares about even the little things in your life?”

The ladies enjoy grabbing a quick coffee together, but appreciate the ambience and food at Fire + Wine in Glen Ellyn; the comfy seating and tasty beer at Warren’s Ale House in Wheaton; and the great music at Ballydoyles in Downers Grove and Even Flow in Geneva. Photo taken at Briar Glen School in Wheaton.

Jane Rio and Georgia Koch GLEN ELLYN–After meeting when they were both members of the Glen Ellyn Junior Woman's Club in 1975, Jane and Georgia have been friends for over 42 years. They have done it all together from having babies only three weeks apart in July 1976, to picking up compost, comforting injured children, attending family weddings, supporting each other through doctor’s appointments, and enjoying the benefits of grandchildren.

One moment they may never forget is sitting at the lake while relaxing and appreciating a libation, and having a sudden visit by a snake! As one can only imagine, the years have been filled with vibrant memories while they traveled through town with their 7 boys all together.

They laugh at all the memories and both agree true friendship just happens naturally. “One meets many people, and may call many ‘friends’; but, a best friend stands out,” Georgia says. “It does not matter time or distance. The connection remains and does not change through good times or bad times.”

These two can solve the world’s problems (and their own) over a glass of wine or a cup of tea, whether in the comfort of their own homes or out at one of their favorite local places, such as Barone’s or Fire + Wine in Glen Ellyn.

No matter what, both know each will always be there for the other. “If I called in the middle of the night and said "I need you now", she would come, no questions asked. She would just come.” Photo taken at the Glen Oaks Restaurant In Glen Ellyn. Georgia is pictured on the left, Jane on the right.

Candice Tinson and Angela Trull

SUGAR GROVE–In 1978, Candice’s grandpa worked for Angie’s dad at Alexander Lumber in Earlville. He introduced their moms who became best friends. The girls were only 2 and 4 at the time and neither can remember life without the other.

“She stars in so many of my memories; laughing with me in the good times and helping me through the bad,” Candice says. “With Angie, there is no back story needed because she knows it all, and advice is never sugar coated.”

Angela says that although they may struggle to balance their separate careers and friendship circles to make time for each another, the famous quote by Elizabeth Foley sums up their relationship perfectly: “The most beautiful discovery that true friends can make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”

These ladies have kept childhood promises, such as serving as each other’s Maid-of-Honor at their weddings; being at each other’s side during child birth; and both currently find solace in free couch therapy session to talk about life’s busyness while raising each of their two children, Landon (11), Maya (9), Robbie (7), and Mackenzie (5). When they get the chance to escape, they love to have breakfast at Apple Villa in Batavia and go craft supply shopping at Michaels in North Aurora.

Since Candice and Angela were teens, they envisioned what their future life might look like and have always joked about retiring to houses next door to each other and rocking on the front porch together. Photo taken at the Sugar Grove Library in Sugar Grove. Angela is pictured on the left, Candice on the right.

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