• Keeping Friends

Friendship by the Book: Q & A with Cathie Beck, author of Cheap Cabernet

Published: May 14, 2011 | Last Updated: November 24, 2020 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
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Cathie’s memoir, Cheap Cabernet, offers several life lessons about friendship. Those that hit me:

1) You need to be creative about going out and finding friends when and if you feel the need;

2) Be cautious about ruling people out before you give them a chance.

3) Friends can help bounce back from the worst experiences.

I was pleased to be able to talk to Cathie and her book:

Irene: Can you briefly describe the storyline of Cheap Cabernet in a few paragraphs?

Cathie: Cheap Cabernet is the story of two women who, on paper, look like they’d never be friends. Denise is Jewish, successful, bold and brash. Cathie came from the wrong side of the tracks — a teenage mom twice, who was divorced and single by age 22.

In her late 30s, Cathie runs an ad to launch a women’s group and Denise attends. They strike up an unexpected, cataclysmic friendship that, over a four-year period, dramatically changes both of their lives. It was a friendship that neither one expected that neither one saw coming.

Irene: What role did female friendships played in your life before and after your marriage? How did that change?

Cathie: I’ve been lucky enough to always have a circle of good friends, no matter my age or marital status. I think, however, that long-term marriages, particularly those with children, often lessen the ability to “keep up girlfriendships.”

But that’s the beauty of girlfriendships – they wait for you. Women know the demands made on their fellow women and are forgiving, for the most part, when their female friends are occupied with the demands of a family.

Irene: Can you explain how you met Denise and what she represented to you?

Cathie: I ran an ad to launch a women’s group in the Boulder Daily Camera in Boulder, Colo. I made the group up. WOW: Women on the Way… whatever. Dozens called. I chose eight women and Denise was one of them. She represented what I thought I’d never been: successfully, beautiful, brazen and bold.

Irene: What do you think made your friendship “stick” despite the obstacles you each faced?

Cathie: At the heart of each woman sat a large-and-in-charge female who knew how to make ____ happen. We each somehow knew that we needed to live life large – that we’re here but for a moment – so no matter what the circumstances, we need to take the world by the horns and ride it big. And we both have big hearts. Our personalities, our looks – those are just relatively insignificant details.

Irene: What lessons did you learn about friendship from your relationship with Denise?

Cathie: That a woman can, no matter her circumstances (and I mean that) – have a big life that is satisfying, rich, fun and joyous.

That life can jerk you around more than once and that you can bounce back—repeatedly, if necessary.

That you get to chose how to take this crazy world and make it yours – even if you’re kicked to the gutter.

In fact, the gutter’s not a bad place to start.Irene: What lessons did you learn about female friendship from the process of writing your book?

Cathie: That women, inherently, know the value of prized female friendships, that popular media likes to celebrate all sorts of relationships – romantic, mother/child, etc., — but that those grand female friendships we all know well – rarely get the spotlight.

‘Friendship by the Book’ is an occasional series of posts on this blog about books that offer friendship lessons. To read other posts in the series, use the search function on the right side of the page.


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Comments (4)

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  1. Irene says:

    That is so true!

    Best, Irene 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Part of the wonderous joy — just when I think I’ve “seen it all” — BAM! — I meet a new pal, a great new friend — & then I’m left wondering how I existed. before knowing them.

    There you have it, 🙂


  3. Anonymous says:

    To be perfectly honest, I know both Cathie and Irene. Cathie is a new friend — met at a recent ASJA conference. Irene is one of my “tribe,” a long distance group I couldn’t live without. I agree with Cathie’s premise that female friendships are not only borne out of similarities, but differences.

  4. Sunny says:

    I liked this:

    “At the heart of each woman sat a large-and-in-charge female who knew how to make ____ happen. … we both have big hearts. Our personalities, our looks – those are just relatively insignificant details.”

    So often it seems we think our personality defines our essence. We think a shy or socially awkward personality means our soul or heart or essence isn’t “all that.” Not true!

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