Mary Quigley was sprinting to her NYU class when a voice behind her called out, “Professor Quigley, can you stop a minute?” Loretta Kaufman wanted to talk herself into Mary’s graduate class even though she didn’t have the proper prerequisites. Mary kept saying “no” but Loretta was relentless while jogging alongside Mary, who was late for class. Older than most of the graduate students by about two decades, Loretta was persuasive and Mary finally agreed.
That was in the early 90’s and as the famous movie line goes,” the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Our writing partnership has produced numerous magazine articles, TV appearances, two nonfiction books, one novel and now a website.
Wanting to explore our creative side, we wrote a novel, “Getaway Mom,” via email, sending chapters digitally back and forth cross country from Mary in New York to Loretta in California.
This unique working relationship has been so rewarding but as the decades passed, we have come to realize that our friendship is even more valuable than the hundreds of thousands of words that we have written together. We have become intrigued by the idea of friendships, new and old, and how friendship impacts people 50 and older as they go through life managing family and career changes. We boldly commissioned a national survey of 1515 adults to better understand the impact of friendships on their lives. The survey proved that it is virtually impossible to be truly happy without focusing on getting and keeping good, close friends.
As a result of that survey we wanted to learn and hear more. We decided the best way to reach an audience was—what else!—digitally and launched our website Friends 6.0. In some ways, the new website is a logical progression for our writing, as it follows our generation into the next phase of life, perhaps less family-centered with more time for friends.
Beyond their writing partnership, Loretta, who organized the survey, is a freelance writer and very active in a number of not-for-profit organizations.
Mary continues to teach as an NYU journalism professor. A widely published freelance writer, for the past three years, she wrote a weekly blog about parenting adult children for AARP.